Welcome to the 2018 MMAJA officer elections

Below, you will find statements from each of the nominees for a 2018 MMAJA Officer position. Please read through them carefully.

When you’re ready to vote, you’ll find the link to your ballot at the bottom of this page.

 

PRESIDENT

 
Ben Fowlkes

I would like to formally accept the nomination for president of the MMAJA. My name is Ben Fowlkes, and I’m currently a columnist for MMA Junkie and USA Today, as well as one half of the duo that comprises the Co-Main Event Podcast. I’ve worked in MMA media for the last 10 years, and prior to my current role I wrote for MMA Fighting, Fight Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Cage Potato. If elected, I will do my best to lead the MMAJA with honesty, transparency, and integrity, in the hope that the MMAJA will improve media working conditions and maintain high standards for our members.

 
 
 
Ariel Helwani

I would like to formally accept the nomination for Vice President of the Mixed Martial Arts Journalists Association. As one of the founding members of the MMAJA, it would be an honor to be elected. Playing a small role in the launch of the MMAJA last year is one of the proudest professional achievements of my career. I’ve long believed that establishing a journalists’ association for MMA media was vital, and I’m very excited to finally see it come to fruition. I believe the MMAJA was founded for all the right reasons and that it has already become a strong fellowship among the press corps. I want to continue to be a part of the growth of the MMAJA because it is something I feel very strongly about.
 
I have been covering MMA professionally since 2006 and have worked for: Vox Media’s MMAFighting.com, AOL.com, Fox Sports, NBCSports.com, Versus, MMARated.com, among others.
 
Thank you.

 

 

 

VICE PRESIDENT

 

There are no candidates for Vice President. The person receiving the second-most votes in the election for President will assume the role of Vice President.

 

 

TREASURER

 

Marc Raimondi

I’d like to accept my nomination for treasurer of the Mixed Martial Arts Journalists Association. As the current interim treasurer, I’ve spent a lot of time working on the association’s budget, business plan and the planning of meetings and other future events. I’m currently working closely with Vox Media lawyers in the process to get the MMAJA recognized as a non-profit organization federally. 

For the sake of continuity, I’d like to continue in this role. I look forward to the future processes of planning meetings and award ceremonies. I feel like my best asset to the MMAJA is organizational skills and ability to plan events.

I thank the membership for my nomination and thank the committee for its time.

 

 

 

SECRETARY

 

Josh Gross

This is my submission to accept a nomination for MMAJA Secretary. While I was grateful to be nominated for other Board positions, I feel I could serve MMAJA best in the Secretary role. From the outset of the effort to create an association for journalists covering MMA, I helped push to make this a reality. It is my intention and hope to continue to serve MMAJA as the group gets off the ground, and as Secretary I aim to maintain a high standard of transparency while cataloging the Board’s activities and keeping members informed. Thank you for your consideration.  

 

Shaun Al-Shatti

It’s an honor to be nominated. I am incredibly proud of how far the MMAJA has come, and thank those of you on the interim board who have worked tirelessly over the past year to get our movement off the ground. I am more than happy to lend my abilities in any way needed moving forward, though I believe with my strong writing background and organizational skills, I can be an important asset to the MMAJA in the role of Secretary.

 

 

 

 

AT-LARGE OFFICER (DIRECTOR)

 

Mike Chiappetta

It is with great pleasure that I accept the nomination for an at-large officer position with the MMAJA. My roots in sports journalism go back over two decades, and I have spent over 12 years covering mixed martial arts for outlets including MMAFighting.com, NBCSports.com, FoxSports.com and BleacherReport.com. In covering MMA for both global outlets and more dedicated, sport-specific sites, I have experienced a 360-degree view of it, including an up-close look at its business developments, athletes and executives. I feel that this gives me a strong understanding of all issues to be explored by a journalists’ association.

In potentially joining the board, I would like to focus on expanding the MMAJA’s footprint to include reporters from around the globe, as well as take on access issues that have plagued some of our colleagues in the past.

Regardless of the outcome, I am happy that we are formalizing an association and pledge to help in any capacity of use to the elected board going forward.

Thank you.

 

Dave Doyle

I hereby accept the nomination for At-Large Director candidacy. I have two decades’ experience as a sports journalist and 12 years working on the mixed martial arts beat. In that time, I’ve worked a wide variety of positions in old media and new. I’ve seen and done it all and feel confident I can capably handle any situation which may arise. Thank you for your consideration.

 

Scott Fontana

I am a candidate for one of the three At-Large Officer (Director) roles in our upcoming MMAJA elections. For those who don’t know me, I am the sports editor at amNewYork, a free daily newspaper in Manhattan owned by Newsday Media Group. I have held the position for 5 1/2 years, and I am a veteran of newspaper sports coverage for nearly 12 years. Although I do not travel for work outside of the NY Metropolitan Area, I cover MMA fighters and events when relevant to amNY’s NYC-focused priorities. I am also the union representative for amNY editorial.

I would be happy to serve the MMAJA in the nominated role. I yearn to be more involved in the growth of our nascent association and the impact it can have on bettering the sport of mixed martial arts, as well as those of us who report on it. 

I believe one of best stepping stones we can make as an organization is to come up with an accepted system of media generated fighter rankings, one that both the athletic commissions and top promotions can support. I had been a member of the official UFC rankings panel until resigning before joining the MMAJA last year. While their system is flawed, today’s events in Brooklyn underscore how much sway this broken system can have on the sport. I would push for us as a unit to work in conjunction with the major parties to establish our rankings as the gold standard in MMA.

I look forward to the opportunity to serve you, as well as the chance to get to know more of you better. Feel free to reach out to me via email (scottrfontana@gmail.com) or follow on Twitter.

 

Amy Kaplan

Hello, I am honored to be nominated as At-Large Officer (Director) and feel that I am ready to take on this position with my 4 years of MMA journalism experience (both as a writer and photographer) as well as more than 10 years in the journalism industry as a whole. As one of the only two female members (to date) of the MMAJA I would like to use my role to increase membership among women, help to establish credibility and a voice for both females fan and female fighters and to ensure that the MMA journalism industry is not attacked like so many other industries have been in the Me Too movement. I would appreciate your vote in order to help this plan come to fruition. 

 

Chamatkar Sandhu

I am happy and honored to accept my nomination for the role of At-large officer (Director). 

I’ve held the title of director for the last 4 years in my role as a digital sales director in the B2B conference and events industry. In this role I have been responsible for hiring staff, day to day management of a sales team located globally, reporting weekly to the company CEO and achieving quarterly and yearly targets. The role also requires me to liaise with other senior members of the senior management team i.e. directors of marketing, operations, IT etc. Communication with other department heads is crucial in ensuring there is total alignment with employees in the company. I believe there’s going to be a similar set up to the MMAJA board where the directors will  need to support the President, VP and others in a management tiered structure.

I’m interested in this role because I have experience from the corporate business world which I think would help provide a different take, opinion and say on matters to be discussed but also add some required stability right off the bat as the organisation gets off the ground in the first few years. MMA is a global sport and I’d like to see the board have a strong global presence. I’m British, with Indian roots, just a few months away from relocating permanently to Toronto, Canada. I have worked for outlets in the US (MMAjunkie.com), the UK (Fighters Only) and India (MMAIndia.com) so I feel I tick that box.

Initiatives I’d be interested in pursuing include but are not limited to:

– Helping recruit more members. The first few years are important to educate colleagues in our industry that have yet to join the MMAJA, the benefits of doing so. Bringing more of our peers together will only help bring more unity to the community and give us a stronger voice in the industry (if and when required).

– Discussing our constitution, rules and regulations in the hopes it can perhaps be refined and evolve over time. Having spoken to some non-members, there is language currently in the terms and conditions to become a member that is prohibiting them from doing so. I think having regular healthy conversations with the group would be a good way to keep the door open in case what is in writing now, isn’t necessarily set in stone and perhaps can be reviewed in the future.

– Looking at the possibility of commercialization, specifically with regards to our MMAJA awards. I’d like to work with the board, specifically, the treasurer and look at ways in which we can generate revenue for the organisation. Monies generated could be used to hold a physical event for our awards and then depending on the amount generated, perhaps create a fellowship, training and anything else that can help all members improve as their role as journalists.

– I’d like to start discussing protocols for potential action to be taken by the entire MMAJA if required to do so at some point in the future. A main reason for me joining is the potential help, protection and support if I needed it. What that means, how the MMAJA would step in on behalf of one of it’s members, what that looks like etc. These are things I’d like the group to start thinking about so we are prepared in case such a scenario were to present itself.

 

Jeff Wagenheim

I accept the nomination for a board of directors role. 

As a longtime member of the sports media, I have been involved in coverage of a wide variety of sports both mainstream and on the fringe. I have served as a writer and as an editor, and have worked for established media outlets as well as upstarts. Specifically with regards to MMA, I have been a fan of the sport since UFC 1, and in the nine years I have covered MMA, I have at times been a main-event “big picture” columnist and at other times have been involved in the nitty-gritty. I feel well equipped to help this new association get off on the right foot, in terms of setting standards and otherwise supporting the needs of members.

My hope is that the MMAJA brings a purposeful camaraderie to this industry, fostering fairness and professionalism while recognizing that inside every sportswriter is a sports fan. 

 

Nate Wilcox

Since founding Bloody Elbow in 2007, I have employed hundreds of combat sports writers. In any given month, I employ at least 70 writers, artists, videographers, vloggers and podcasters. If elected to the board of the MMAJA I will work to represent the interests of full-and part-time MMA journalists with the same integrity and commitment I bring to running BloodyElbow.com. 

 

 

 

 

 

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