This past weekend’s UFC 63 (previously mentioned here), at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, was particularly noteworthy, not only because the main event of Matt Hughes vs. B.J. Penn for the World Welterweight Championship has generated raves as the mixed martial arts (MMA) match of the year, but because The L.A. Times covered MMA in its Sports section for the first time.
While smaller newspapers like the Long Beach Press-Telegram have been covering UFC (in fact, MMA is listed as a separate category in its Sports section, devoted not just to UFC but the World Fighting Alliance as well), the fact that the Times has now done so is a breakthrough in terms of the mainstream media’s acknowledgement of MMA as an emerging legitimate sport.
More after the jump.
That being said, the Times‘ coverage was somewhat mixed, with Saturday’s article (which previewed the main event) listed on page 3 (of a 14 page Sports section, ahead of baseball, golf, hockey, pro football, and college football), while Sunday’s article (which summarized the bout) was relegated to page 17 (of a 20 page Sports section, behind baseball, college football, and pro football, sharing the page with motor racing and marathon running, and ahead of golf).
Contrast with the Press-Telegram, where a summary (and photo gallery) of UFC 63 (which covered not just the main event but the other matches as well) was placed at the top of its Sports section on its website late last night.
(Special thanks to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter in the preparation of this article.)
(Photo courtesy of UFC.)