UFC VP of Operations Talks Credentials

April 23, 2009

MMA’s latest controversy has more or less pushed the UFC credential issue to the back burner, but I thought it worth while to post this interview conducted a few weeks ago by insidefighting.com with UFC VP of Operations Donna Marcolini.

A summary of the main points is below:

  • Prior to UFC 88 in September of 2008, the UFC used a lanyard credential system to organize their backstage activities.
  • The policy of most athletic commissions (including the NSAC) is to issue three cornermen credentials (title fight participants receive four) and then it is up to the fighter to choose whom he’ll assign those corner credentials. It can be a trainer, agent, or someone else.
  • In addition to corner credentials the UFC also provided its fighters with two sets of four complimentary tickets (this is pretty standard within the industry and written into most fighter contracts). The fighters received one set of four tickets prior to the event to distribute as they please; and, then they received the second set following their fight if they wish to watch the event for the duration of the evening.
  • During this period, the UFC would occassionally distribute an extra credential pass to a fighter out of courtesy. This was done to facilitate the meeting of a particular need or want of that fighter (e.g., the fighter needed his sponsorship banner that was left at a hotel room).
  • At some point individuals began to abuse the UFC’s lanyard system by sharing their passes (i.e., an authorized person, with a pass, would switch places with a places with an unauthorized individual sitting in the stands).
  • The UFC brought a halt to this abuse by switching to a wristband system and ceasing to distribute courtesy lanyards.

Payout Opinion:

It would appear as though the entire credential flap is really a non-issue: the old system was being abused and the UFC tightened the reigns accordingly. So, what’s all the fuss about?

Egos.

The UFC could have easily answered Loretta’s query, but that would have entailed at least an implicit recognition of Hunt and Sherdog as legimiate media. That refusal was all Hunt needed to write yet another story criticizing the UFC (oddly enough her only named contributor to the article was Ken Pavia, the same individual caught abusing the old credential system). In turn, Dana White retaliated with his profanity-laced tirade, not because the issue at hand was that big of a deal, but likely because of his frustrations with the MMA media, “internetland,” and, specifically, his prior history with Hunt and Sherdog.

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