Many of the top three sports are starting to deal with something that has been going on in mixed martial arts journalism for some time. That’s figuring out the difference between a blogger’s opinion or the actual critical thought by an esteemed journalist. From Ariel Helwani to Brett Okamoto and Chad Dundas there are only a handful of writers that the general public would consider as “real journalists”. Now, you may not agree, as some fans think the entire concept of media in the sport is bs anyway because most of the reporters never stepped foot in a cage. Unfortunately that is not the case when it comes to FOX analyst and former UFC fighter Kenny Florian. He has caused quite a stir with the recent allegations of plagiarism that for the time being has him suspended. Though in a realm of grey lines, improper grammar and news stories being generated off forums, how terrible of an act is this? In the world of journalism plagiarism is an deed of pure evil. The real question is does someone who does not consider themselves a journalist fall under the same guidelines?
After Sunday Night’s victory for Dominick Cruz he left the mic after saying “Florian stop copying and pasting”. That was referring to a statement in a boxing video by Lee John Wiley. In his Willie Pep video he describes a certain movement and that statement is word for word in a breakdown piece by Florian. Kenny eventually came out and apologized for not citing Wiley but that would not end the issue. Once the story was picked up by more media outlets FOX decided to suspend Florian which some feel is spot on.
There are a lot of analysts that carry many duties for whatever platform they represent. So that alone would be enough to look at someone on television as an accredited journalist. The reach for the analyst is usually bigger than your normal blogger or content writer so the responsibility of being accurate and fair is a larger concern. Even though these are true statements, is it really that crucial to the life of the source if a small misstep is made? His FOX duties, website work and podcast make Kenny a busy man so if he says it was an oversight there are many reasons for that to be valid. There are way more atrocities being committed in mma “journalism” as most sites that cover press releases are doing it with a copy and paste effort. That does not mean it’s ok but maybe we need to pump the brakes before we start dishing out some extreme punishement.
Most of the sites, blogs and podcasts available for mixed martial arts carries no merit. Many of the staffed writers on these outlets have no journalism background and or schooling that qualifies them to hold such a title. It doesn’t matter anymore with the internet and the ability for anyone anywhere to start their own site. That means there are so many more opinions than facts being spread through the community. While it is clear that Florian committed this literary sin he should probably be given the fair shake that any other person that covers the sport has. Florian is being used as an example to a community that has been playing by it’s own rules for some time. Don’t think this will deter sites from allowing their writers to do the same act. After reading this, open up more than five different mma pages and look at their news section. You will see this a common problem that is not going away anytime soon in mixed martial arts media.