Writers group wants UFC to ‘take action’ against White
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Days after Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White unleashed a three-plus-minute, expletive-filled barrage against Sherdog.com reporter Loretta Hunt for a story she wrote about the organization’s credential policies for fighter agents and managers, a women’s sports media group is urging the UFC to confront the issue.
In a written statement released by the Assn. of Women in Sports Media, group President Jenni Carlson writes the UFC’s silence on the issue -- and UFC spokespeople failed to return messages left for them Wednesday by The Times -- is ‘disheartening because this behavior is unacceptable.’
‘He used both misogynistic and homophobic language,’ the statement says, ‘and while White has apologized for his anti-gay comments, he has indicated he stands behind everything else he said, including language that is derogatory and denigrating toward women.’
Carlson writes, ‘It establishes a hostile work environment not only for Loretta but also for all women who cover the UFC. We cannot accept that any female sports journalist would have to work in an environment of intimidation or a hostile workplace.’
It’s worth noting that Hunt and many other MMA Internet reporters haven’t been afforded press seating at UFC events since October 2005. The majority of MMA website reporters instead purchase tickets to cover the action and are left out of post-fight newsconferences, even though hard-core MMA fans follow coverage on those sites religiously.
The statement noted: ‘Hunt has covered mixed martial arts for more than eight years and is a New York Times bestselling author. Her employer, Sherdog.com, provides mixed martial arts coverage for ESPN.com.’
‘AWSM has offered its support and encouragement to Loretta,’ Carlson said. ‘We will continue to do so. It is a mystery to me that a man who is always seeking more coverage and more exposure for his sport would disenfranchise some of the very people who are covering, sponsoring and watching his sport -- women.’
White has talked to ESPN.com about the controversythis week, but his bosses, Las Vegas casino magnates Lorenzo Fertitta and his brother Frank, have not released any statement either in support of White or objecting to his rant.
-- Lance Pugmire