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Media Expectations and Why Karyn Bryant is Off Base

Karyn Bryant's unsympathetic take highlights the worst part of an access journalist's mentality

The risks of weight-cutting have been highly prevalent and seemingly ever-increasing in recent times. The severe risks fighters are putting themselves under is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly, nor downplayed because of the interests of others. One would think media understand this and would want to give fighters the opportunity to recuperate swiftly. I mean, fighter safety is in the best interest of everyone, surely? Erm, not quite.

With a cushy job as a host on the FOX panel for UFC events and a side gig on UFC Tonight, Karyn Bryant clearly feels she’s in a position to dictate what’s in the best interest of a fighter, while simultaneously increasing the risk they’re under, just so they can cater to the needs and wants of media.

In response to Michael Chiesa noting that interviewing a fighter directly after they’ve weighed in is typically the worst time to interview a fighter, Bryant offered an unsympathetic response along with a rather weak argument as to why a fighter should be interviewed at that precise moment.

The argument that it may be someone’s first time ‘meeting’ the fighter doesn’t carry much weight once it’s put under scrutiny. Firstly, and I must stress, this is the only point that really needs to matter – if media didn’t try interview a severely dehydrated fighter directly after they’d weighed in, then that moment wouldn’t be the first time for anybody seeing that particular fighter, would it? Meaning it’s a non-issue. Why can’t the fighter be allowed to go rehydrate immediately instead? Media has had the entirety of fight week to conduct interviews, along with ones they will be conducting after the fighter has rehydrated. It’s not imperative to do it at that precise moment. How does an incoherent, one word answered interview with a severely dehydrated and agitated fighter portray them in their best light? It benefits no one. And secondly, if the fan is tuning in to watch the weigh-ins it’s generally not the first time they’ve seen said fighter. Especially one as established as Luke Rockhold. The importance of rehydration at that moment far outweighs any media obligation. Which brings us on to another point.

IS IT A CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION?

As Bryant so definitively states ‘it IS part of a fighter’s job.’ Well, is it? The truth is it’s not actually that definitive. Per Eddie Alvarez‘s contract (h/t Bleacher Report), which became public knowledge after a protracted legal battle between both the UFC and Bellator, we can see the language in the contract isn’t definitive. Meaning it’s neither obligatory nor mandatory, as Karyn Bryant would have people believe.

Cooperate and assist in the advertising, publicity, and promotion of (i) the Bouts, (ii) any and all rebroadcast of the Bouts in any media whatsoever, (iii) other UFC bouts, (iv) other UFC events and broadcasts, and (v) the sale of UFC merchandise, including making appearances at a reasonable number of press conferences, interviews and other sponsorship and promotional activities (any of which may be telecast, broadcast, recorded or filmed) at times and places reasonably designated by ZUFFA, without additional compensation therefore.

While the term reasonable may be arbitrary to some media persons, the literal meaning is certainly more defined; fair and sensible. Now ask yourself, is it sensible to be interviewing a severely dehydrated fighter who needs to replenish themselves back from the point of emaciation? Is it fair to expect a fighter to spend a further few minutes standing and being questioned when they’re at their most depleted state?

One Twitter user offered a completely rational argument as to why interviews at those precise moments aren’t needed. Bryant proceeded to offer a straw man retort which clearly illustrated two things: 1.) Karyn Bryant thinks media’s need to get an interview trumps the fighter’s health concerns, and 2.) While Bryant claimed in a subsequent tweet that she had empathy for the fighter’s in these situations, it’s clear there is some contradiction going on when she is also tweeting the words ‘like it or not.’

EDITOR’S PARTING SHOT

It’s alarming that a media member with a platform such as Bryant’s thinks that media’s needs should be valued over a fighter’s at that precise moment. An interview with a fighter directly after a weigh-in is not a necessity. It doesn’t impact their exposure levels to any determinable degree, nor does it portray them in the best light. It doesn’t benefit anybody given how abrupt responses are, and it’s clearly not indicative of that particular fighter, only that they don’t want to speak at that moment. Most importantly, it’s adds extra unnecessary risk. Let the fighters rehydrate and get healthy.

It’s hard to rationalise what Karyn Bryant thinks anybody is gaining from these typically incoherent, precipitous interviews.

In a world where UFC fighters are continually given airtime from a multitude of outlets throughout fight week, interviews with severly dehydrated fighters who have just stepped off the scale clearly aren’t needed.

 

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