Exclusive – Morning Kombat’s Luke Thomas mourns the loss of Bloody Elbow: ‘This is a real bad day for MMA’

Bloody Elbow

As we approach one of the biggest UFC pay-per-view cards of the year, fight fans are flooding social media with thoughts over the recent buyout of Bloody Elbow, an MMA media website that for more than a decade, delivered combat sports news and analysis with a unique voice unlike any other in the industry.

On Tuesday, March 5, it was announced that Bloody Elbow had been purchased by GRV Media, a UK-based company that touts itself as “one of the world’s largest independent networks with a portfolio of over 50 sites focused mainly on sport, gaming, and entertainment.”

Over the years, Bloody Elbow and its tribe of writers have sought to hold the MMA industry accountable for its actions. They tackled issues of fighter pay head-on and since August, have provided by far the most comprehensive coverage of the ongoing antitrust lawsuit against the UFC. Unfortunately, if you want to go back and read any of those stories, you’re out of luck as Bloody Elbow’s new business daddy has seemingly erased every report associated with the suit.

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Speaking on the demise of Bloody Elbow, Luke Thomas of Morning Kombat shared his thoughts with Mike Owens in a LowKick MMA exclusive interview.

“This is a real bad day for MMA,” Thomas said. “I know that there are folks who don’t see it that way. I would submit that they don’t understand what is happening around them. The biggest complaint that I typically see about Bloody Elbow comes from people who didn’t like their political sort of editorial slant, which is fine. You don’t have to like that, but show me the site or the media outlet that does what they do in the sense of trying to police the industry. Trying to hold commissions [accountable]. Trying to bring fighter pay to public scrutiny. What other media outlet does that? There isn’t one.”

Thomas Warns that MMA media will become ‘more unreliable’ following bloody elbow buyout

If you’ve read a story about fighter pay or the ongoing antitrust lawsuit, chances are some of the information included was sourced from Bloody Elbow. They were the only site actively working to hold Dana White and Co. accountable for its highly questionable business practices that kept the executive pockets lined in cash while fighters threw hands for their share of a meager 15% of the revenue.

“This is categorically a disaster for the industry,” Thomas continued. “There are going to be people in the industry happy about this because they’re going to benefit from the situation and they didn’t like that Bloody Elbow had political coverage, but it just goes to show you that the amount of bad faith actors in the industry is so endemic in management, in how fighters get paid, in commission structures…

“These things are so endemic that it’s basically how the sport works and that’s why you see sometimes these really angry reactions to what [Bloody Elbow] did because they were the only ones who had the courage to hold a mirror up and let everyone see what was going on. This is a very bad thing for the industry unless you’re a dirtbag, in which case congratulations. Things just got a lot easier for you.”

Bloody Elbow is still running and producing content daily under the GRV Media banner, but the unique voice that the site once held has been silenced in favor of your run-of-the-mill AI-generated news site.

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One of the new regime’s featured writers, Tom Llewellyn, is said to have had “over 48 million views while working on other projects at GRV Media before joining Bloody Elbow full-time.” Interestingly, Llewellyn has no online presence aside from an account on X that was opened in January 2023 with only seven followers and zero posts.

“I know what everyone says,” Thomas added. “They’re gonna say, ‘A certain writer I didn’t like is losing their job and I’m not going to miss their coverage.’ Let me give you as clear as f*ck warning as I possibly can. However little you like the current system, trust me when I tell you that you’re going to hate the next one a lot more because it’s going to be significantly more unreliable.”

Watch the full exclusive interview below:

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