After Ariel Helwani was ‘banned for life’ by the UFC when scooping the story of Brock Lesnar’s return for UFC 200, the community rallied around him and public pressure was strong enough for the UFC to make a quick 180 on this decision.
The benefits of having a unified voice appears to have resonated with many of the journalists who stuck up for Helwani and they have now launched an MMA Journalists Association.
The website is live and can be found here along with the organizations constitution which spells out the following purposes:
A. To promote and foster high professional and ethical standards among journalists focused on the sport of mixed martial arts (“MMA”).
B. To advocate for professional working press rooms, facilities, processes, and conditions that facilitate members’ effective media coverage of MMA events.
C. To represent the interests of members generally and in matters of professional code of conduct standards established between journalists and event promoters, fighters, managers, gyms, coaches, sponsors, and other parties with a vested interest in the business of MMA.
D. To acknowledge and reward exceptional work in both the field of mixed martial arts journalism as well as the sport of MMA.
E. To educate industry professionals to increase their knowledge and understanding of how to conduct themselves in journalism.
F. To stimulate and sustain a fellowship among members based upon journalistic integrity.
The website notes that formal elections are planned in the coming months and in the meantime is being directed by the an interim board “led by MMAJA President Dann Stupp of USA TODAY Sports and MMAJunkie.com, Vice President Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, Secretary Josh Gross of The Guardian, and Treasurer Marc Raimondi of MMAFighting.com. Chad Dundas of Bleacher Report and Ben Fowlkes of MMAJunkie.com will serve as interim directors. In the forthcoming election, members will choose a President, Vice president, Secretary, and Treasurer, as well as three additional Directors, for a seven-person Board of Directors.”