UFC bans journalist!

Who is making the decisions here? Months before what is supposed to be the UFC’s biggest ever event (UFC 200) and on the night of what has been considered an amazing UFC event (UFC 199) the UFC takes some massive steps backwards by banning journalist for doing their jobs. Freedom of Speech? Yeah sure! Lots of freedom.

Aerial Helwani a long time and well respected MMA journalist and his two friends/coworkers E. Casey Laydon and Esther Lin reported information about fights that had not been released to the public as yet. As a result. The UFC stripped them of their credentials and escorted them out of the building WHILST the event was going on, instructing them that they were now banned for life and never to return to UFC land again. No more pony rides or nothing!

Yes that actually did just happen. A company who was been rumored to be for sale with a selling price over 4 billion dollars just made a mistake that will undoubtedly cost them.

So what are your thoughts?

Are they in the right? Did Helwani and his crew deserve life time bans for ruining the surprise?

On a night where Michael Bisping (former colleague of Helwani from FOX before the UFC forced FOX to fire Helwani) did the unspeakable and knocked out the Champion after taking the fight on 1 weeks’ notice. The UFC may have an opportunity to learn a thing or two about underestimating your opponent. Or maybe not? Maybe just maybe being such a big company means that you make the rules as you go along?

Here is what the UFC should do!

Resolve this issue with these journalist immediately before it turns into a monster that they are not able to control. After all, they don’t want people, let alone fans, thinking that they are incapable of making the right decisions. And there are a long list of decisions that can be argued as questionable. Here are three very quick ones;

1. The Reebok deal

2. The firing of Stitch Duran

3. The lack of a fighters union

Their message is quite clear. We don’t give a hoot about you, your sponsorships, how many people like you, or your stupid journalism. All we care about are the DOLLARS and if you threaten that in any way we will shut you up however we can with no regard for your ability to feed your family or your reputation within the sport.

Now listen, I get it! As a business owner myself I really do. I have had to fire employees who have committed acts that have threatened my organization’s reputation. However, this is not the same thing. There were no threats to the UFC. Helwani reported on twitter hours before they did information about an upcoming fight. It is his job to report these things. If they (the UFC) did not wish for this to be reported then they should have done a better job at containing the entire thing.

In the world of change management it is always said that the bigger companies usually have a very slow response to change. The analogy of trying to turn the titanic is often used. Smaller companies with less of a complicated hierarchy usually have quicker responses to change thus in situations like these they are often able to make decisions without running it through a series of persons. Which leads me to my next point. How many people did a decision like this go through before action was taken? Did a committee of people really sit down in a room with the intention of assessing what their next move was and came up with this decision? Really? Highly unlikely. This is more likely a decision made by someone in the moment. Someone who decided that it would be better to turn this titanic as quick as possible right into an iceberg that at the time seemed to have a very small surface. “We are untouchable! Let’s push through this small iceberg!” Is this an emotional intelligence issue?

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