Like him or hate him, give credit to MMA journalist Josh Gross who announced Monday that he is taking his talents to Bristol, CT, and will join ESPN’s growing MMA coverage effective immediately.
There was no official start date announced, but his last piece for SI.com will run Tuesday where it’s expected some more light will be shed on this move. Gross has been in the game for a decade, most famously drawing the ire of UFC President Dana White several times over the years. When made aware of the news today, White called Gross a ‘scumbag’ among some other interesting comments on his Twitter account.
This is quite the situation for White and the UFC, who have made major in-roads over the past two years with ESPN. Major events are covered like major events with other sports. MMA Live went from online only to a weekly turn on ESPN2. They even have their own section on ESPN.com (and hopefully ESPNBoston.com someday). The coverage has no doubt helped sell the sport to the all-important mainstream fan who they are looking to convert.
But now White has a fox in his henhouse. Gross has been banned from UFC events, but what if ESPN puts on a hard press? Surely they must have been aware of the situation going into bringing him on and maybe that’s part of the draw for them. I don’t know if they have another reporter in their arsenal that has such a tenuous relationship with the main organization he’s been paid to cover.
However, all that will unfold as it’s meant to. With one Josh in the ESPN MMA fold, isn’t it time for another? Like my Facebook page and tell ESPNBoston.com you want MMA coverage!
Josh Nason is a freelance journalist who has penned pieces for FIGHT! Magazine, Apollo (Australia) Magazine, Manchester Magazine and more. While he loves to write about mixed martial arts and email marketing, blogging about music and observations on life are passions as well. Follow him at Twitter and check out his audio archive of appearances.