Passing the Torch

Passing the Torch

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As is quite evident from the lack of content generated by Your MMA over the last few months, and the dwindling (albeit excellent) output prior to that, life has simply gotten in the way of my ability to run this place in the way it deserves. I know many probably thought it was emaciated and dying in the forgotten corners of fight journalism, but hopefully that doesn’t have to be the case.

Seven years on from its inception – which came from the ashes of the MMA Unltd UK MMA Magazine – it’s finally time for me to pass the torch on Your MMA, in the hope that it can be resurrected into a front-running, pivotal tool in the grassroots of UK MMA.

Holding on was mostly done out of ego. I invested a hell of a lot of time and passion into this project, and that tells in the community and reputation we built. Holding on has also been a constraint, as it hasn’t given anybody else the ability to take the helm and breathe life back into the limp carcass. I did think I would be able to return to it but that hasn’t been the case. And two years on, the likelihood gets smaller and smaller.

Over the years I’ve had some excellent writers and made great friends, all of whom I’d like to thank for the work and service, which was not for monetary gain. It was done for the love, and to aid the community. Some have gone on to write or shoot photos or video for huge organisations. Whatever they have gone on to, I just hope in some way their efforts helped in gaining experience and laying foundations for what followed. They are all awesome people and I owe them several beers.

It’s been a fulfilling ride which has offered me some great experiences. The landscape has changed dramatically, but I like to think Your MMA helped to raise the bar and push things in the right direction.

I look back to the return of Cage Warriors in October 2010 and it shows just how dedicated to the cause we were, and how we celebrated quality MMA and domestic growth moreso than skimming UFC news off other sites for easy hits. There was, at best, one or two other journalists in attendance at CWFC 38 at the HMV Forum, and now they’re one of the biggest promotions on the planet, covered worldwide. Of course the credit for that goes to Cage Warriors themselves, but it illustrates how things have shifted.

A 6-hour megabus was worth the ride to help cover the athletes and promotions that had genuinely good intentions for the community, even with the stinking body odour chap practically sleeping on my shoulder. It was done with a view to helping promote what we have, and helping to coerce people towards supporting local and national events, rather than being resigned to armchair spectators of the UFC and the like.

Even though there were 23-hour work days and mass amounts of stimulants needed to power through, I thoroughly enjoyed and am proud of the two Your MMA Magazine print issues we put out, though unfortunately that was, financially at least, not a success. Critically it may have been. I know of at least three people that read it, and two of them said they enjoyed it. They might have just said it to be polite, but I’ll take it.

Rankings, awards, exclusive news, podcasts, videos, live show coverage, interviews, and all the rest, it was all vital in the time we did it when nobody else really was, and I believe contributed to a better UK MMA as a whole. That’s why it’s sad to see this so redundant as I type right now, and that’s why I hope it can work again.

Times change, jobs change, and families grow. I’m still very much involved with MMA and I’m at plenty of fight events around the country week in, week out. Moreso than some of the MMA media I see today, who view the role as self aggrandising, rather than giving the spotlight to those who actually deserve it. It was never and should never be a narcissistic endeavour.

I can be found (very occasionally) fighting, cornering, reffing, commentating, or grafting behind the scenes to help those that actually put themselves on the line for the sport. More often, I’m in the gym coaching and pretending I’m still kind of a big deal.

You’ll find me writing for some great promotions both in the UK and internationally, being able to commit myself to what I enjoy; telling the stories of the varied characters in the sport, without the workload of running a site that sapped the enjoyment away from the process.

I’ll be passing it into very capable hands who can hopefully do this place, its reputation, and our supporters the justice it deserves. People do still care, and we became the most trusted outlet because of the genuine nature of our intentions. With that in mind, I would only have passed it in to what I believe are the right hands.

I do see other good sites, some established and some fledgling, and fresh, passionate journalists and writers coming through when I occasionally have the time to see what’s going on, and that’s good to know. If Your MMA can return to full strength, it can complement others doing good work for UK MMA and bring everybody on together, for the benefit of our fighters and promotions.

All being well I can still drop by from time to time, and write with freedom and enthusiasm. However, for now it is better to put it in the capable hands of people committed to the promotion of UK MMA, and with the time and inclination to hopefully bring this site back to life.

It’s been a blast, no pun intended, but it’s time to let someone else use the community and reputation we’ve built to push UK MMA. And if they’re shit at it, well, it was done with the right intentions. And I’ll be outta here, so I won’t care. I write this with no illusions of relevance anymore, but at least it’s been said.

Find me at @JayFurnessMMA on Twitter, and keep your eyes out for the new blood of Your MMA pushing content your way soon.

If anybody wants to help them out with it, then get in touch with them via the Facebook Page.

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