A Tribute To The Best MMA Forum On The Web
Welcome to MMA Freaks. An article courtesy of Paul MIller of MMA Freaks.
18 months ago, an avid Mixed Martial Arts fan by the name of Brady Grier saw a need that wasn’t being filled. Fed up with the hate, trolling, flame-throwing, name-calling, and fighter-bashing on virtually every MMA discussion forum, an idea began to form in Brady’s mind: what if there was an online MMA community where people could gather to discuss the sport they love, without all those negative aspects? After all, MMA fans from around the world DO have a love for MMA in common. If fans have that in common, why do discussions on MMA forums always seem to become volatile? Even social media comments on mainstream outlets like MMA Fighting and MMA Junkie seem to inevitably spiral into the gutter. Why couldn’t there be an online place where people could meet, debate, discuss, and yes – argue – about MMA, without the discussion devolving into what seems like a universal condition of anger, hatred, and ridicule on all MMA forums?
And thus, MMA Freaks was born. Like so many others before him, Brady Grier went about the relatively simple task of creating a Facebook group for MMA fans – and the more difficult task of populating it with members and managing its growth. Eighteen months later, MMA Freaks is a forum juggernaut, humbly boasting over 18,000 members, with roughly 1000 new members joining every month, and no slow-down in sight. A recent partnership with MMA journalist Nick Portella of NickPortellaMMA.com, as well as delving into Facebook Live fighter interviews, fight-card previews and breakdowns, and charitable ventures, have further established MMA Freaks as the web’s premier online MMA forum. How did such a seemingly simple idea grow into such a robust and dynamic online community?
The concept is easy to understand: Those who love MMA are welcome to join the forum and express themselves freely, provided a few, simple, easy to follow rules are maintained. Brady enlists the aid of several administrators and moderators from time-zones around the world in order to ensure that someone representing him has their eyeballs on the forum at any given moment, reminding members to follow the guidelines when needed, and jettisoning those who refuse to abide.
Those simple rules are: No overt hate, threatening, bullying, name-calling, or bashing between members is allowed. Members are expected to respect one another and discuss differences of opinion without going off the rails. No political discussions are allowed. No religious discussions are allowed. No racism. No sexism. No spam advertising. No videos of street brawls. And a rule that has been the crown jewel of MMA Freaks: No fighter bashing.
Now, that’s not to say that fighters cannot be criticized, or that their actions (or inactions) cannot be discussed frankly. They can and they are – and quite pointedly so. What this rule means is that if you have something critical to say about a fighter, you may do so without name-calling, racial or sexual slurs, slamming appearance, etc. Stick to the facts and your opinion about the facts, and it’s remarkable how avid MMA fans can discuss things intensely without the vitriol found on every other MMA forum.
The positive side-effect of the “no fighter bashing” rule, is that professional and amateur fighters from all over the world are discovering that MMA Freaks is a place where they can come to interact with fans, and not be completely surrounded by a bunch of mouth-breathing morons. Growing numbers of professional fighters from the UFC, Bellator, Combate Americas, ACB (Russia), and many many other regional and local promotions are calling MMA Freaks their online home for fan interaction.
The benefit to MMA Freaks members of having online interaction with professional MMA fighters is amazing to witness. Having fighters share their knowledge and experience as part of the discussion naturally elevates the discussion. It also educates fans and brings the entire flavor of the forum to another level, where respect, camaraderie, and support rule – and where hate, name-calling, trolling, flame-throwing, and fighter-bashing drool.
All these positive dynamics are a result of Brady’s team establishing a simple, direct, no bullshit approach to maintaining civility and fostering open discussion. What has grown from it, is an online community where people can engage in intelligent, interesting, fun discussion. It turns out that when people are encouraged to check their internal asshat at the door, everybody enjoys themselves more, and when people are enjoying themselves, they treat others with more respect.
The goal at MMA Freaks is to become the one MMA forum that shines brighter than all others, and all signs point to that goal being realized in the here and now. So along with all the other MMA Freaks admins and mods, as well as our over 18,000 strong membership, I encourage all MMA fans who are sick of the BS at other forums to grab your friends and join us at MMA Freaks. And while you’re at it, join us in giving Brady Grier an appreciative shout-out for creating the very best MMA forum on the web.