The MMA Hour: https://www.mmafighting.com/mma-hour
The MMA hour is a journalism website which covers all news within the sport of Mixed Martial Arts. Not only does it cover fights within the UFC which is the most popular company, but all other companies such as Bellator, Pride, WEC and more. The site is managed by several journalists within the sport, but one of the key and most popular journalists that runs the site is Ariel Helwani.
The main attraction to the MMA Hour are the podcasts and interviews made by Ariel Helwani. With Ariel holding immense respect amongst the majority of fighters in the UFC and other organisations, he is able to generate first hand content from important perspectives when covering a story or event as he immediately contacts the fighters, trainers, or managers, to organise a call that will be made for the podcast. Apart from these podcasts interviewing fighters first hand, the breaking news and announcements within the sport of MMA is always tweeted immediately on Ariel’s twitter account which is embedded on the website, as well as The MMA Hour twitter itself. The use of twitter by the site is extremely important when covering live MMA events as the tweets recount immediate results of fights, as well as any backstage news that people are unable to see.
The MMA Hour utilises different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Youtube to produce content, and how they intertwine these platforms is important to generating attention. A tweet will usually have a quote by a fighter that would be borderline clickbait, and it would come with a link to the interview on Youtube. An example of this is:
I believe the use of all these social media platforms to generate content and attention is vital to the sites success as the content is targeted primarily to MMA/Fighting fans, as well as sports enthusiasts.
Full podcasts go for over 4 hours long with different interviews with fighters throughout, but when uploaded to Youtube, they upload each individual interview, and usually titled with a eye catching quote such as this:
The podcasts are very enjoyable as Ariel uses a laid back approach and mixes interviews with both serious and humourous questions. However sometimes the nature of Ariel’s interviewing like many journalists may cause drama within the podcast, one notable example is this:
While the MMA Hour have primarily Ariel Helwani produce the podcasts, and ultimately be the face of the website, there are a range of journalists hired to create written articles which are found in the “News” category of the website. Each day there are several articles which cover every aspect of MMA news such as rumours, reviews and interviews. I find this extremely effective as it broadens the content to not be limited to one perspective, and the site would be more complete through covering all news.
The MMA Hour have sparked controversy before through Ariel Helwani angering the UFC so much as to ban him temporarily from UFC events as he ruined the surprise announcement of the return of Brock Lesnar in UFC 200. In UFC 199 it was planned that a promo trailer for UFC 200 would be played to the crowd, and at the end would reveal the unexpected return of Brock Lesnar. This plan was ruined however with Ariel tweeting about the news (tweet was deleted) before the official reveal which does show how ethics play into his work, which really is that he hears news, and reports news immediately.
The website I personally believe is really well done as they check the boxes on all the needs for a successful journalism website. A good layout, enjoyable content, various types of reporting (Tweets, podcasts, articles) and effective use of social media to get the news out there to MMA fans.