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Monday, August 19, 2019

Jeremy Botter says UFC sent him legal letter about sale report

UFCThe UFC has been on a rampage of late to try controlling all the big news surrounding the company. Their latest tactic includes sending a legal letter to Flo Combat’s Jeremy Botter, likely in an effort to shut him up over his report of the progress of the company’s sale.

In the past few days, Botter reported in great detail about the bids the UFC had received as it explores a sale of the company. On Monday he said the top bid had been accepted.

In response to the report, the UFC sent out an internal memo to employees denying Flo Combat’s report.

“A report today by FloCombat.com indicating that the company has been sold is false,” the email read per MMA Junkie. “This follows other false speculation in the press recently.

“Such misrepresentation of facts in the media negatively impacts our business, staff members and athletes. We have instructed our attorneys to investigate and take all appropriate legal actions against the parties publishing and contributing to these false stories.

“With International Fight Week and the historic UFC 200 rapidly approaching, we look forward to once again delivering a series of events that our fans won’t soon forget. We appreciate your hard work, diligence and commitment, and thank you for your focus as we continue to take the sport to new heights.”

Well, since they said in the email they instructed attorneys to investigate and take action against parties publishing stories, it’s no surprise that Botter says he received a letter from the UFC.

Fight Opinion points out that Botter could respond with an anti-SLAPP lawsuit, because the message from the UFC is that Flo Combat’s report is false. (An anti-SLAPP motion is one that seeks to fight the attempt of someone to shut the public up by threatening them with lawsuits). Of course, the UFC has done nothing but deny deny deny that the company is in the process of soliciting bidders for a sale despite reportedly hiring Goldman Sachs to handle the process. And Botter/Flo Combat never actually reported the company was sold; he only said a top bid was accepted. It’s a small difference, but a significant one.

The UFC has made its living by controlling everything. They’ve become so big and so huge that it’s harder and harder to control things like what fighters say in interviews; whether news breaks the way they want it to; and what reporters are saying. That is difficult for them because they believe they should be able to run their business without any outside interference. My guess is they may have also promised “exclusives” to some of their news partners e.g. ESPN etc., so when other outlets intercept the news and ruin the exclusives (like Ariel Helwani), it makes it impossible for them to deliver on promises. In that case, the UFC would be to blame for making promises that are simply too tough to keep.

What the UFC fails to understand is that the media does not exist to cooperate with them; it’s there to report on the ongoings of their business. If such business includes them booking Brock Lesnar for a return to the Octagon, or the company accepting a bid, they should understand both constitute BIG NEWS. They just need to accept that the media will report things. Of course it’s in their interest to deny and keep a lid on things, because they don’t want their employees being confused. I’ve worked for companies that were sold, and it’s hard to keep employees focused during times of confusion. I understand their reasons for acting the way they do. But they can’t keep trying to intimidate every media outlet that reports on their business with either legal action or by taking away credentials; they just need to accept they cannot control the information the media reports about them. Until they learn that lesson, they will be viewed as a second-rate organization that uses tactics such as bullying and intimidation.

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