To Tweet or Not to Tweet: That is MMA’s Question
Twitter has become the new voice of people. Celebrity and common man alike have been leveraging the medium to deliver their message to a wider audience, and it has become a way for some to gain fandom, popularity and visibility over night. Like most celebrities many of MMA’s biggest and smallest fighters have a presence on this social medium; in fact, the UFC even awards its fighters a cash bonus for Twitter use. With an incentive like that, as a fighter, why would you not want to pour your heart and soul out into the social universe?
Unfortunately, many fighters as of late have been finding that Twitter has two sides to its blade. Dana White, while rewarding fighters like Cung Le and Kenny Florian for maintaining an active and positive presence on Twitter with the aforementioned cash bonus, has stripped other fighters of their right to be in the UFC at all for “improper comments”. This list of blacklisted fighters is not isolated to fringe players either: Forrest Griffin, Miguel Torres have both been reprimanded for comments made. The latest casualty is former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal. After calling the NAC commissioner a “racist b*#$#” King Mo was handed his walking papers.
The question is, whether or not this is fair? Most sports leagues will reprimand their athletes for speaking inappropriately in public, in line with policies that have been put in place within their mandate/charter. ZUFFA, however, has no such policy. With that being said, is it fair for cutting a fighter for breaking no rule? Is this impinging on their right to freely speak their mind.
Fighters, in general, may be some of the most passionate athletes in sports today and as such are likely more prone to speak their mind very candidly when rattled. This being said, as a public figure a certain level of discretion does need to be exercised as a public figure.
Should a fighter be slapped on the wrist (i.e. fined, suspended, etc…)? Definitely! The level to which this punishment is enforced really should be hingent on crime. Cut for an emotional outburst? I think this measure might be extreme, and could actually stop some fighters from gaining as much visibility, as they may be too afraid to speak out a culture of fear.
What’s your opinion? Has the ZUFFA gone too far? Do they need a clear mandate on the subject? OR should fighter be more cognizant of what they’re saying to the public.
… and that is the last word.