More often than not, Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole gets ripped online for being a 'UFC nutnugger.' Quite frankly, I never understood this argument. I mean, just because he writes a lot about the UFC that means he's biased? That makes no sense. Iole covers the MMA beat and, in case you haven't noticed, the UFC is the top MMA organization in the world. This would be akin to calling ESPN's Chris Mortensen an 'NFL nuthugger' because he covers the NFL more than, say, the Arena League.
Anyways, the reason I bring this up is because Iole wrote this very non-nuthugger post about the UFC's reaction to the Tanner death:
"As of 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, there was no official statement from the UFC on its Web site for its one-time middleweight champion, whose body was discovered in a mountainous area near San Diego after he went missing on a camping trip.
I contacted UFC president Dana White on Monday for a response and didn’t receive an answer. Though UFC.com has a story by Thomas Gerbasi announcing Tanner’s death, there is no comment in that story from anyone connected with the UFC.
When ex-light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson was arrested in July, White was on a plane to Southern California within an hour of learning the news. UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta or White (or both) should have acknowledged Tanner’s death with a statement on Monday. They look very bad for having seemingly ignored the tragedy.
Hopefully, the UFC will acknowledge his passing with an appropriate tribute at its next show. It’s the least they could do."
Truer words have never been spoken.
As you may have noticed, we've covered the Tanner story quite thoroughly today. In doing so, I must have visited UFC.com 100 times to see if they would have a tribute video, a statement from Dana White or something else to honor their former middleweight champion. Nothing.
Surely, they would feature a photo of Tanner on ONE of the eight main headline cards on their homepage, right? Sadly, as of 7:20 pm ET, that hasn't been the case either.
UFC.com's Thomas Gerbasi wrote a moving tribute about Tanner late last night. It was one of the best pieces written about him since his passing. However, since then, nothing new has been added about his untimely passing. That is simply unacceptable.
How about Spike.com - the home of Tanner's exclusive blog? They have also had just one story up since last night with a bunch of links to their "exclusive blog." Quite frankly, it reads like a shill for their site. Ridiculous.
I know this is unchartered territory for the UFC, but, as Iole mentioned, they were very quick to comment on the Jackson situation in July - perhaps even too quick. Now, when the MMA world is looking to them for some kind of response, they have remained relatively quiet.
Simply put, Evan Tanner deserves more than that.
I think the criticism of Iole being a UFC-nuthugger, and his criticism of the UFC, are both unnecessary. The UFC is not a news agency despite having a news tab on their website, and if they get around to posting a tribute or an anything like, well good for them. I for one don't expect more.
I got called an MLB nuthugger the other day, because when I cover professional baseball in America, I tend to focus on Major League Baseball. My bad.