If caught cheering at Bellator MMA events, media members risk being removed from the press area.
"Media will not be allowed to shoot video near the cage as well, and any video being shot must be pre-approved by Bellator and videographers must be escorted if shooting pre-approved footage," the e-mail from Bellator MMA's PR dept. read. "We also ask as a general rule to please act professionally while seated at press row. Like any press area, it is a working area for members of the media to file their stories and cover the event. Unprofessional behavior, such as cheering during the fights, will result in removal from the press area."
Is this a good new policy put in place by Bellator?
That all depends who you ask, but there has always been an unspoken code of writer ethics in place in the press box. Now it just seems that once unspoken code has been put into formal policy.
Many press folks feel it's "against the rules" or somehow unprofessional to take pictures with their favorite fighters or to cheer during fights, for risk of seeming more like a fan than a media member.
However, the landscape of the media has changed so drastically in recent years that some "fans" have blogs and social media platforms that are more popular than "traditional" media.
Fightland journalist Aurora Ford documented this changing landscape while covering Invicta FC 5 in Kansas City, Missouri.
"By the time things get started I’m yelling so loud one of the press people turns around to look at me. My voice is cracking already. I don’t care. I’m not here to be a professional. I’m here to be a part of these fights in my own small but very loud way," Ford wrote. "I write about fighting because I fucking love fights. I am first, second, third, foremost and always a fan, and sitting silently trying to appear uninvolved or unbiased is so past impossible I’m not even going to try. Fight fans read fight writing. They’re going to identify with me before any of you."
Is it unprofessional for media members to cheer during fights? Let us know in the comments and be sure to tweet the author, @ericholden.