Last year Josh Gross, the editor of sherdog.com, called me and asked me to write an article about the UFC’s lawsuit against the IFL. He also asked me, in a very serious tone, whether I still managed any fighters. I told him I did not, and had not for a number of years. Josh clearly wanted to be sure I had no conflict of interest before I wrote again for the site.
Apparently, I should have asked Josh whether he and sherdog.com had any conflicts of interest, since Luke Thomas from bloodyknuckle.com noticed something last night:
I watched last night’s Battleground (a much-improved program) only to realize Sherdog.com, an ostensibly independent news source for all things MMA, pays money to one particular MMA organization advertising money. In other words, Sherdog is a client of the IFL.
How is this accomplished? Easily: the Sherdog logo and website URL are printed in one corner of the ring’s canvas. Alongside Sherdog’s logo are the logos for Headblade and Buffalo Wild Wings; not exactly news sources the last time I checked.
. . .
So then how can they justify their relationship with the IFL? I don’t know the terms of their deal and I can’t say up front I’ve noticed any biased reporting by Sherdog on all things IFL. Then again, we also haven’t seen a great number of pieces highly critical of the IFL, something that is common from other news sources or blogs.
If sherdog.com is going to present itself as a serious news source and grill its writers about potential conflicts of interest, the least it could do is avoid those conflicts itself.