Getting Real

Fear has often prevented us from saying things we know. That changes today.

If you’re receiving this email, it’s because you signed up for my Whizzered newsletter awhile back.

It was a long time ago. It’s okay if you don’t remember the newsletter, or even if you don’t remember me. I can’t remember much of anything these days . Getting old sucks.

That iteration of Whizzered lasted about 4 days before I walked away. This was perhaps the longest iteration of the site. See, I am fantastic at developing new products and branding them, but where I truly excel is in losing interest in record time.

There’s another reason I walked away so quickly. After the initial “cool new product” buzz, I realized I was writing the same shit I’d always written.

I’d started Whizzered because I never wanted to work for anyone again.That’s what happens after you get shit-canned from a fantastic job that you absolutely love and are good at by a boss who is woefully incompetent and incapable of doing his own job. We’ll talk more about FloSports someday. I promise.

So I was working for myself with Whizzered, but I was doing the same thing I’d always done. I was being Mr. Professional Combat Sports Writer. Again.

You know what I mean, right? It’s the standard for MMA coverage. You get lots of information and some professionalism, but very little truth. We all know stories about really shitty things that happen in this industry, but we just ignore them for fear of being shut out.

It means pretending to care about random UFC cards featuring 14 people I’ve never heard of when I would rather be doing literally anything else. I went to the dentist the other day and got a needle injected into my gums. It was the worst thing I’ve ever felt. I would rather do that again than be forced to watch all 9,000 hours of mixed martial arts on television this year.

Some of you enjoy watching as many fights as you possibly can. This is fine for you. After more than a decade, I’ve had my fill. I used to be the same way, back when it meant something to be a UFC-caliber athlete.

These days, the UFC is both the world’s biggest fight promoter and also its own feeder league.

I didn’t want to do that sort of writing anymore. I chose to focus on my features and profiles. I could not care less how your fight camp is going, nor could I muster the energy to nod as you tell me about your fight camp. You have answered this question a thousand times today, and yet for some reason we media folks think we are the only one smart enough to ask it

And besides, I had been in a spell of laziness that would absolutely stun you with its depth and sadness and lack of showering. So I went dark.

For most of the past year, I’ve been tossing around the idea of bringing Whizzered back, but in newsletter format.

I grew up reading email newsletters about pro wrestling (Bagpipe Report, yo!) and mixed martial arts. Dave Meltzer’s 60,000 weekly words were my Toilet Bible. (You know exactly what I mean).

They made me want to be a writer. And I became a real writer, or at least a middling writer who has managed to turn it into a career that’s lasted for over 20 years. Too long, surely. But they keep paying me, so I’m going to ride that train as long as I can.

So, Whizzered is back. It’s going to be a newsletter about mixed martial arts and the athletes and the unique, inspiring and often revolting business of MMA.

There won’t be the fluff-job pieces you read during every single fight week (which is every single week, and I have written so many of these and I am sorry). There are literally hundreds of places you can read that sort of thing. My personal favorite of the moment is Fightful.

Instead, I’m going to talk about the assholes and the scumbags and the predators, while also championing the good things we still see in this sport, like Max Holloway or Daniel Cormier or Sage Northcutt, who is admittedly unsettling in a male Stepford Wives way, but who has the purest heart you’ll ever find.

You’re probably thinking this is a bad career move, that I’ll lose my credential. Nah. I’ll be fine. Because I don’t care about access. I don’t need it. The UFC can’t hurt my career. I don’t need them to do my job. I have incredible support from the team at Bleacher Report and CNN, who lets me spend months working on stories that chase after the humanity begins the bloodshed. I am grateful for that and know my job is a unicorn.

What to expect

I won’t spam your inbox. You’ll get a few pieces of content from me each week, and that’s it. Maybe more, if something like Adesanya vs. Gastelum ever happens again, in which case I may send you pages full of zucchini emojis. Be forewarned.

I will never send you weigh-in results. I will never send you straight fight results. I will never, never post transcribed interviews from others and add a sentence or two of my own and pretend I’ve done real work.*

* NOTE: The previous version of this sentence made it sound like I don’t believe transcribing is real work. On the contrary, transcribing interviews is the worst part of the job and is the bane of my existence, which is why I gladly pay to have someone else do it for me. My apologies to anyone who I offended with that poorly-thought-out sentence. I hope it never happens again.

I’ll never relay the latest UFC public relations announcements or fight posters.

I will never send you emails with a subject line like “Full Fight Video Highlights,” because that’s pure billshit trickery.

And I won’t try to give you technical analysis, because I’m not real smart about that sort of thing and I’d rather leave it to someone like Sean Sheehan, who is very good and dedicated and who is not Robin Black, which is a bonus.

I do promise this: I’ll write the best and most brutally honest stuff I can. I’ll turn the lens on myself and talk about the stupid and embarrassing things I’ve done in my career. There are so many of those things. It may take awhile.

Maybe somebody else can learn from them. Maybe I’ll learn from them.

This is a subscription newsletter.

Right now, everything I’m publishing here is free. But I won’t write for free. I put a lot of effort and time into the work I do, and I believe it’s worth something. I plan on traveling for reporting on stories for publication here, and your subscriptions will help cover that cost. That isn’t cheap, and I can’t do it without your support.

After May 1, 95% of the stuff I publish here will be for subscribers only. Free users will get one story a week.

A subscription is only $6 per month, or $60 annually. That’s cheaper than a sixer of beer, especially if you drink Natural Light.

For a limited time, a subscription is $6 a month. That’s it. And if you subscribe annually, it’s $60. I don’t have my calculator in front of me and I don’t do math, but I can tell you that feels like a great deal, so it’s probably true.

You can read everything for free until May 1.

But you can also subscribe right now if you want - just click one of the 67 buttons I have embedded in this post. If you've enjoyed my work over the years and want to read more of it, this is the way to do it.

So, that’s it. I have no idea how this is going to go over, but I’m going to write anyway. I’ll close this by telling you that it is doubtful I’ll lose any sort of access because of this newsletter, but if I do, that’s fine with me. I should’ve been banned a long time ago, because I have been a thorn in the UFC’s side and I will continue to be so.

To tell you the truth, it is remarkable that I haven’t been banned given how much Dana White hates me.

I know this because the last time I messaged him (I reached out for comment on a story in early 2018), he responded by telling my brand-new wife that she should get on her knees and suck her husband’s cock. He also called me a weirdo. But it’s like, tell me something I don’t know, dude. Get a little more creative next time. And thanks for trying to get me laid, I guess. That was nice of you.

That’s a true story, by the way. I’ve got plenty more of them to share. And there’s still plenty of time for you to apologize to my wife, you asshole.