ESPN have edited their YOUTUBE content of the McGregor/Nurmagomedov pre-fight press conference from yesterday in Las Vegas. As reported yesterday McGregor has made some very controversial comments about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s manager Ali Abdelaziz over the course of two very tense and dark press conferences.
The allegations, of course, relate to the alleged terrorist activities of the aforementioned Ali. Most online media companies have ran the entire footage of the press conference in full. Curiously though ESPN have chosen to cut this section of the press conference out of their online content.
ESPN have recently announced a massive billion dollar deal with the UFC for full broadcast rights of the UFC product. Is this a sign of things to come in the UFC? A sign that ESPN will endeavour to sanitize and clean up the rougher edges of the Sport and it’s Stars.
One of the excellent sides to covering MMA is that generally speaking the media outlets do very little to cut out bad language or some of the whackier sides to the sports list of characters.
I mean one of the cool things to see is how comfortably most of the Professional fighters talk about drug use and performance enhancing drug use. Many of the opinions and accusations that get thrown around in MMA, If they were done in other sports would lead to litigation and ultimately sanitization of comment and opinion. I do not think this is a good thing. It also makes for very boring sports men and women.
I have not seen an outlet claim that what McGregor said about Ali Abdelaziz is incorrect. I think ESPN have made a mistake in editing that section of the Press conference out of their online media offering. I hope this is not a precedent of things to come.
The journalistic endeavour here should be to investigate the comments that McGregor has made in order to get a fuller picture of the individual in question. If McGregor is wrong he should be held to account for such a wild accusation. However IF he is right it leads to some very serious questions and potential story lines.
In short ESPN’s first instinct should not have been to REDACT or EDIT OUT the controversial comment. It’s instinct should have been to investigate it.