If you consider yourself a “fight purist” then you, like me, have grown extremely frustrated with the direction that the sport of mixed martial arts has gone in recent years.
Let’s be honest, the UFC has essentially become the WWE—minus the fixed fights and TLC matches.
From the UFC signing CM Punk to a lucrative contract without any MMA experience to perennial contenders consistently being passed over for title shots in favor of trash talkers on losing streaks, the business model of the organization has shifted from a legitimate combat sport into more of a sports entertainment spectacle.
It isn’t just the UFC that has adopted this style either. Several other top promotions such as Bellator MMA and others have also followed suit. These organizations have lost a large portion of their hardcore fan base in the process.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand the business perspective of trying to draw in the casual fans. But it should never be at the expense of the die-hard audience. The very same audience from which the sport was built upon in the first place!
The MMA media is even worse. Rather than try to build up and coming talent and help give fresh stars a voice, most MMA websites will only publish “click bait” content featuring the sport’s top draws.
I don’t know about you guys but I am sick and tired of reading 10 Conor McGregor articles a day when the guy hasn’t fought in the cage in over a year.
Where are the Francis Ngannou articles? Or Darren Till? Or Robert Whittaker?
Enough is enough! It’s time to take this sport back and cover it from a purist perspective.
My name is Mitchell Ciccarelli and I’d like to officially welcome you to FightPurist.com. Your new home for MMA coverage… real MMA coverage!
You might recognize my name. After all, this is not my first rodeo in the MMA media business. I started covering the sport in 2009 for Bleacher Report.
I was a young 17 year old kid with a traditional martial arts background and a desire to write about my favorite sport. Within my first year of writing, I became the first and youngest MMA columnist from Bleacher Report to have a syndicated article published on SI.com (Sports Illustrated).
As my writing continued to improve, I started conducting exclusive interviews with fighters and networking with various top names in the industry. I was loving every minute of it and did not mind working for free.
On B/R, I connected with a fellow writer who would go on to become not only one of my best friends in MMA but also my podcast co-host for the years to follow. That writer’s name was Bryan Levick and I’m dedicating this website in his memory.
Bryan and I clicked right off the bat. We were both from Long Island, NY and shared the same enthusiasm and passion for MMA.
In 2012 we started hosting our own MMA podcast dubbed Rebellion MMA Radio. The show gained popularity quickly and within six months we were picked up by BJPenn.com to host the official podcast of UFC Hall of Famer and former two division champ, BJ Penn.
We built BJPenn.com radio into one of the top 100 podcasts on Stitcher and iTunes several weeks in a row.
A year later, Alchemist Management which was owned by music icon M.C Hammer, brought Bryan and I on to host Alchemist Radio.
In the official press release for Alchemist Radio, Hammer was quoted as saying the following:
“The formation of Alchemist Radio represents a shift in sports management,” explained MC Hammer. “We’re looking at the creation of Alchemist 2.0 where we will integrate social media with mainstream media giving fighters and entertainers a new, unbiased platform with no hidden agendas.”
For the next year and half we did just that. We became one of the most listened to internet radio shows in the entire sport. Fighters loved coming on our show because, as Hammer mentioned, we had no hidden agenda.
We weren’t trying to bait our guests into saying something outlandish or misquote them so that we could get cheap hits. We legitimately wanted to give fighters a platform and a voice and to cover them with the utmost respect.
Even though the show was doing very well, I ended up parting ways with Bryan and the podcast in 2014. I wanted to focus more on my career in the military and my personal life at the time.
I was also starting to grow immensely frustrated with the sport for the very same reasons I mentioned in the beginning of this article. I left the MMA media behind and never returned. Until now.
So why am I back? Why now?
This past June, Bryan passed away at the young age of 42 from a heart embolism. After his passing, I started reflecting back on some of the memories we had on the show—wishing that I had stayed in touch with him more over the years.
He was a great guy and believed in me during a time in my life when few did. I owe a lot to him and wish that he was still around to help me grow this website like the old days.
I still have more left to accomplish in the MMA community. Sure, the sport might not be what it used to be but I can help change that. I believe that I can.
With that being said, as a U.S Air Force non-commissioned officer (NCO) I am big on outlining my mission and having a clear vision on what I am looking to do.
Here is my mission and vision statement for this website moving forward.
To provide MMA purists with a website that covers the best talent in the sport without looking for “catchy headlines” and click bait nonsense. To provide MMA fighters with a platform and voice to get their names out without worrying about journalists twisting their words or tricking them into saying something controversial.
To restore the hardcore/die hard MMA audience back to what it once was whilst simultaneously converting casual fight fans into regular observers. FightPurist.com will become the “go to” website for real MMA fans and fighters alike.
Now that Fight Purist is officially launched, get ready for a revolution in MMA media!