General

A New Chapter

I have been covering mixed martial arts since 2005 or so, to the best of my recollection.

At first, it was just something I did in my spare time to whittle away the hours while stationed at Fort Hood in the Army. Along the way, it somehow turned into my career, and I have been fortunate enough to do it full time since 2007.

I have attended the biggest and best events. I have interviewed the sport’s brightest stars. I’ve written a lot of things that I’m proud of, and I have written things I am not so proud of. I have made many friends along the way that I hope will stick with me.

Today, I’m announcing a new chapter in my life.

I have accepted a position as the Managing Editor of FloSports, a growing and exciting company in Austin. If you’re an MMA fan reading this, you’ve likely heard of FloWrestling or FloGrappling, but we also have track & field, softball, Crossfit and others. I will be overseeing all editorial operations for all FloSports properties.

Unfortunately, this change brings about another one.

I am leaving Bleacher Report at the end of March, and my mixed martial arts writing will be greatly reduced in the near future. You can expect me to contribute the occasional feature stories for Flo, but my day to day visibility in the MMA world will be far more limited.

I won’t be chasing news stories any more, which is something of a relief. But it also makes me just a little sad, because there’s nothing like getting a tip about something the world doesn’t know about, and then trying to chase confirmation in order to be the first to report it. It is a thrill, and I will miss it. But I won’t miss cold calling managers, fighters and other sources. Not even a little bit. Not even at all.

In short, I am stepping back from one world so that I can step forward in another. I will miss the day to day electricity and craziness that mixed martial arts provides. I have woken up each morning for the past decade and never really known what the day ahead would bring. It has kept me on my toes, and it has taught me so very much. I will miss it.

I must offer thanks, first and foremost, to Bleacher Report and my editor and friend, Brian Oswald.They gave me an opportunity at a low moment in my life a few years ago, and they have been a wonderful company to work for. The turnaround they have completed since the “dark days” of BR has been incredible to watch, and it has been an honor for me to participate in it.

They allowed me to write what I wanted, when I wanted, and people who work in this industry will tell you how rare a thing that is. They allowed me to explore the stories that interested me. And just last week, they promoted me to Senior Writer, which meant more to me than they will ever know. If this opportunity with FloSports hadn’t come along, I’d probably work for Bleacher Report until they wheel me out of the building.

I will be forever grateful for them, and especially for Brian, who was easier to work with than any other editor I’ve had. I have known Brian for almost a decade now. I hope to use some of the things I have learned from him as I move into my new role, and I am glad Brian will be a friend for the rest of my life.

To Jonathan Snowden: You gave me my first real opportunity in this sport, and then you helped secure a place for me at Bleacher Report. I am grateful for the historical knowledge you have provided for me over the years. You helped shape me and make me a better writer just by virtue of working alongside me.

To Matt Brown, my former editor at Heavy and another friend who will stick with me forever. Matt gave me my first full-time, salaried job in this sport, and he taught me so much about editorial processes and other things over the years. There is nobody better at creating and developing new businesses out of thin air.

To Megan Olivi, my longtime friend. It has been an honor to get to know you since the good old days, and to watch you grow and become the outstanding television personality that you are. I have been so grateful that you and Joseph allowed me to be a part of your lives.

I have to thank Dave Sholler and his team at the UFC as well. I have been a pain in the ass for them over the years, but they still treat me with courtesy and respect.

Maura Welp, who is no longer with the UFC, and Christian Hauser have been great points of contact for me. Chris Costello, Paige Berger, Ryan Grab, Chelsea Sullivan, Lenee Breckenridge, Matt Radmanovich, Prescott Miller and other team members have been valuable resources. Ant Evans and others have also been incredible.

To former UFC public relations employees Jen Wenk, Caren Bell, Rachel Trontel, Diann Brizzolara, a hearty thank you for everything you did to help me in the past.

Thank you to Dana White. Our relationship has taken a rocky and interesting turn over the past few years, but there was a time when Dana helped me greatly on a regular basis, and I appreciate everything he did. I hope he can understand that I’m just doing my job to the best of my ability as a journalist, just as I understand he is doing his as a promoter and protector of his company.

To the fighters who have allowed me to tell their stories. Joseph Benavidez, Miguel Torres, Daniel Cormier, Jon Jones, Conor McGregor, Tim Kennedy, Chael Sonnen, Miesha Tate and so many more: thank you for opening up to me, for answering questions that are often tough but occasionally dumb, and for allowing me to share a little bit of you with the world.

To my colleagues who have been friends and sounding boards over the years:

Ariel Helwani, a man who puts in countless hours of work behind the scenes in order to make it look effortless on screen: I count you as a true friend. I love your passion for your work and your love for your family. You deserve every bit of success you’ve had over the years.

To Ben Fowlkes and Chuck Mindenhall, two men who have set the bar for quality writing so high that the rest of us will spend years trying to reach it. And to Chad Dundas, who wrote the best novel I’ve read in years while also being one hell of a colleague.

To Duane Finley, a dedicated storyteller who I’ve had the pleasure to work with at multiple outlets over the years. I am so thankful that I met Duane, because he went from a colleague to one of my closest friends. He is likely the nicest person I’ve met in my life; every human on this planet should have a Duane Finley in their life. The world would be a better place.

To Matt Erickson, Damon Martin, Kevin Iole,Marc Raimondi, Shaun Al-Shatti, Steven Marrocco, Dave DoyleDann Stupp, and so many others who work their asses off and continually push the rest of us to do and be better.

And finally, I have to thank you, the readers. There are so many of you. You have read my stuff over the  years. You have offered support and criticism, often in equal measure. You have helped me refine my craft and become a better storyteller, and I would not be where I am today without you. I apologize if I ever got a little snippy with you on Twitter or elsewhere; I am far too sensitive sometimes. It is something I will continue to work on.

I’ll continue writing for Bleacher Report through the end of March. After that, you’ll find my occasional story on FloSports.

Onward.

 

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