• Gary Friel

BloodyElbow : BloodyHypocrites

Disclaimer: This is NOT aimed at every writer at BloodyElbow. I respect many of their writers who have built the outlet up to be one of the best and biggest in the sport. However they continuously push and advocate for the type of content I'm discussing in this article, allowing the hypocrisy of the few to overshadow the talent of the many.

For years, BloodyElbow has decided to overly assert itself on the MMA community, attempting to position itself as the woke website of face punching. With constant jabs at the MMA media for not covering the hot button topics, BloodyElbow seems content to accuse others of avoiding the hard issues whilst not utilizing it's platform as one of the top outlets to actually gain access and ask these questions themselves.

Over on Youtube, whenever a content creator decides to discuss an issue which relates to sensitive topics, such as sexual assault or suicide, the creator either suspends monetisation on the video or ensures that all proceeds are donated to a charity which can offer some assistance towards solving the issue.

There are no such actions being made by BloodyElbow, who tar the UFC with the same brush they paint their house with. Profiting off of articles relating to the sexual assault allegations of the most popular UFC fighter, Trent Reinsmith and Karim Zidan have produced written works which are indistinguishable from one another as they go over the exact same points.

However, their crusade is an honourable one. BloodyElbow, whilst not contributing many articles on the subject when popularity was lower, have been pushing writing which criticises the media for not discussing the allegations and UFC for refusing to answer questions on the subject at hand. Of course, other than small passive aggressive jibes at Ariel Helwani which are totally not made in jealousy, we are seeing no names being mentioned and vague generalisations being lofted in regards to the media. John Morgan has been one of the premier media members covering the fight, and while Trent criticises “the media” for their refusal to ask the tough questions, I think it’s safe to say he’s not going to point fingers at a specific individual like John who has been quite happy to a offer good questions in an effort to help build up the fight and create content for his respective website.

I would be foolish to have an issue with someone asking the tough questions. Conor McGregor's current legal issues is a relevant talking point, but I think we all know the reason why media members aren’t rushing to ask them. During his interview Ariel Helwani, Conor McGregor went as far as he is legally allowed to, by saying he denies any allegations made against him. That's literally the absolute furthest we are going to see him go to answering the question. A media member can decide to ask him again, and again, and again, and it's not going to garner any new results. Instead of repeating themselves, some media members decide to ask different questions which isn't something you can use to tarnish their name.

My issue is criticising UFC for their refusal to entertain questioning on the ongoing allegations and investigation. During his hit-piece, Trent would spew: -

“Now, about White‘s assertions that McGregor answered the question about the sexual assault investigations, which were reported by The New York Times, during McGregor’s ESPN interview. That didn’t actually happen. McGregor answered questions about “allegations,” but during the multiple camera shot UFC video interview, McGregor did not answer a single question about sexual assault allegations. That’s because he was not asked a single specific question about the sexual assault allegations.” - Trent Reinsmith, BloodyElbow

The reason this is a problem is because if anyone knows what it’s like to be put in this situation, it’s BloodyElbow. In January 2019, it was revealed that one of their most popular writers, Iain Kidd, had been charged with possession of illicit images and videos of children. Did we see an immediate, knee jerk reaction to the allegations? Did we see personal opinions and insights from the friends and colleagues of Iain’s at BloodyElbow?

We did not. We got a statement from Vox Media, parent company of BloodyElbow, several days after the news was broken.

“On Friday, Bloody Elbow became aware of news reports linking one of our writers to criminal activities including possession of child pornography. As a result, Bloody Elbow and SB Nation terminated his contract that same day.

SB Nation and Bloody Elbow strongly condemn the types of activities reported and encourage our readers and listeners to visit Protect Children in Canada, Stop It Now in Scotland, and Darkness 2 Light in the United States for more information to support victims.” - BloodyElbow Statement on Iain Kidd

In addition to this, BloodyElbow staff members waited until the proper clearance to take to Twitter to post obviously manufactured posts. Each reads extremely similarly to one another, which makes it clear that there were certain guidelines imposed on them, presumably from Vox Media, as to what they can and can’t say. Each tweet discusses how they are “disgusted and appalled” and how no one at BloodyElbow is at any fault what so ever.




This makes sense. It’s a very serious subject. Even if we forget about the negative impact on the brand, this is a matter of legality and no one wants to get caught saying the wrong thing. I believe this was the correct move. There is no reason to risk additional damage to the company, be it BloodyElbow or Vox Media, at a time when emotions were high and the temptation to post a knee jerk reaction or say something you didn’t carefully plan out is difficult to manage. By taking control of the situation, refusing to respond to queries and comments from outsiders and putting everyone on lock-down until the correct investigations, clarifications and control measures were completed, BloodyElbow was able to limit the uproar and scandal that it was facing. This is almost the exact same situation as UFC who, unlike BloodyElbow, have to wait considerably longer to achieve a resolution to the legal proceedings. Trent Reinsmith, who was working for MMAJunkie at the time, doesn't appear to have commented on his fellow media member's outing as pedophile.

I’m sure someone like Trent will hold the opinion that UFC is wrong to feature Conor McGregor in light of such accusations. I actually don’t disagree. Until the police have come to a conclusion, I do consider it unethical to pretend the situation isn’t occurring. However, for Trent to act as though the company he works for doesn’t still feature articles from Iain Kidd, which will still generate income through advertising, or that BloodyElbow isn’t also covering the fight and presumably earning more revenue that they would in other months, off of Conor McGregor and even directly the allegations made against him, is hypocritical to say the least. If BloodyElbow can profit off of McGregor, and his sexual assault allegations, there is no way Trent Reinsmith or Karim Zidan can point their moral compass at UFC for profiting off of Conor’s fighting.

Editor disclaimer: The views portrayed in this article are those of the writer and not the website.


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