WWE & MMA: The Red Headed Step Child To The Media

Justin LaBar

Have you ever been watching a sport and some intense physicality takes place, and the commentators go “wow that looked like something out of the WWF?”

What about have you watched or listened to ESPN/Fox News/ Fox Sports, and when they get to the topic of Brock Lesnar beating Shane Carwin at UFC 116, they put the disclaimer before they read the story by saying “now for the least in-depth UFC analysis” or after reading the scripted story facts they ad-lib a small talk statement like “Man those guys are crazy.”

If you answered yes to either than you have experienced professional wrestling and mixed martial arts being treated as the muscular red-headed step child of the media.

Both wrestling and MMA get no genuine positive mention by the mainstream media, but yet when certain things happen, they must include it in their broadcast. Whether its Floyd Mayweather punching and running from the Big Show or Brock Lesnar’s win in what is touted as the biggest fight to date in the UFC, the media has to talk about it but damn if they are going to do it without a punch line.

Now I am not talking about print media outlets. Online columnists/bloggers and newspaper writers are all on beats and what they specialize in, and in those outlets there are those who follow both wrestling and MMA well enough to speak and even criticize it with credibility.

But television and radio is different. I have my degree in broadcasting with a focus in television and can tell you that when you are a sportscaster for television, what is asked of you is obviously different than a sports writer. The writers are following the team or athlete everywhere, and are your best source for “being in the loop.” Think of your favorite sports team, most of your real news comes from the beat writers. Television may be what is on at the bar that you are seeing the headline but if you look or listen to who they attribute the story, its being reported by a beat writer.

Television guys need to know enough to pronounce the names right, have some easy “devils advocate” debate if its in the rundown and make a comical comment to take them into the next story.

Why is it that nobody on the mainstream television wants to embrace MMA or wrestling? Wrestling has its obvious arguments because its a few more steps away from a real sport due to all of the entertainment aspects, but even MMA. There is constant banter of how these guys still prefer boxing to MMA. My favorite argument is when I hear that the boxer will kick the MMA fighters ass.

Its a frustrating sequence. Even more frustrating when these people on television or radio want to tell you what is dangerous about wrestling or MMA.

The Chris Benoit and family tragedy takes place and everybody is an expert on what physically pro wrestlers do and don’t experience. These are the same people who watch so much and still call it the WWF.

These are the same people who say MMA is too brutal in comparison to boxing. These are the same people who have never watched a full MMA fight to realize that the fights being stopped when a fighter is no longer protecting themselves, while violent at first glance, is actually better off than boxing. A boxer being knocked to the ground, getting up at 8 or 9 in the 10 count and continuing to fight for another hour long match is going to give you a lot more medical issues on a large long term scale.

MMA & professional wrestling is not like the NFL or MLB. You as a kid, you in high school, your kids, they played football or baseball so you have a certain comfort with those sports and what’s going on. Its an American past-time. That is fine. I love both of those sports and have nothing against them,

There are far fewer that are well connected with MMA and pro wrestling, and that is fine too. It doesn’t need to be the top story on Sportscenter, but don’t try to analyze what you can’t even tolerate.

Speaking of the Chris Benoit, on the next Chair Shot Reality, we will talk and share a few of your emailed comments on thoughts & perception of Chris Benoit now that it has been 3 years and 2 weeks since the tragedy.

Praise or rants directly to me can be sent to justin.labar@yahoo.com

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