It's clear that MMA is still fighting for credibility and acceptance across the country. And it's a struggle for the UFC to get big coverage from the local newspapers when it comes to new markets. The Tennessean relegated the Ultimate Fight Night 18 coverage to the back page on fight day. Are these papers reflecting their readers or stuck in their 1970's ways?
Some publications might be afraid of the backlash they may get if they give major play to an event like the UFC. Only one reader voiced their displeasure on the Tennessean's website but it was a doozy labeling the fans and participants as blood lusting animals:
"I'm actually disapointed to hear that Sen. (Doug) Jackson attended and did not know he was instrumental in allowing this to come to TN. I should not be surprised though, what else can you expect from a liberal democrat? As John McCain once said this is nothing more than human dog-fighting."
I think we can guess which side of the political plate this message poster swings from. The most enjoyable part of the post comes when the reader delivers "facts" about mixed martial arts:
"I saw a report not long ago that also said some of those who were into the UFC were the same ones into violent video games, which causes aggressive behavior. Watch out for road rage tomorrow. Those people who love to see these blood-letting events are probably some of the same who would pay to see the next big thing. The Lions-Christians face-off at LP Field where the Lions are literally turned loose on the Christians to tear them apart limb by limb. The way things are going, don't be surprised to see that happen in a few years. Some people this day and time just cannot have fun unless it's violent and bloody."
You're not going to change some people's mind on the level of violence in MMA. It might help though if newspapers stop accentuating words like "bloody". Tennessee legalized MMA in July of 2008.