Bloody Elbow is leaving Vox Media and relaunching as an independent, reader-supported site under the leadership of Nate Wilcox.
As the first step of that process, we are launching a Substack newsletter.
The existing BloodyElbow.com will stay on Vox’s Chorus platform at least through the end of March. After that we’ll be relaunching Bloody Elbow 2.0.
BloodyElbow.com will remain an ad-supported publication, but the new Bloody Elbow Substack newsletter is our way of creating a reader supported supplement to the main site that will provide in-depth features, analysis and unfettered honest opinions from some of the best writers in the sport. Yes, there will be guest stars!
If you love MMA and you love Bloody Elbow you can help us keep the sport honest by subscribing today to support our new path forward.
Help build the new BE!
The Substack newsletter will help us pay the necessary development and maintenance costs for our new site, and will feature—along with a daily delivery of our stories, straight to you—exclusive feature stories which will only be available in preview form on BloodyElbow.com.
Readers can subscribe to our newsletter for just $5 a month or $50 annually.
More generous patrons can subscribe at higher tiers ($500 annually and above) for increased perks.
Free subscribers will get regular free newsletters with the most important links to our coverage at BloodyElbow.com.
Paid subscribers will get access to regular feature articles that will only be available in preview form on BloodyElbow.com.
We’ve lined up some very special features you won’t want to miss—unfettered opinion and analysis, in-depth technical analysis from some of the best in the game, as well as deep dives into the finances of MMA and the often ugly politics around the sport.
Paid subscribers will also get a seat at the table as we decide how to build the New Bloody Elbow. This will be done through exclusive polls and opportunities to contribute to content on BE.
Subscribers at the highest tier will have a chance to communicate directly with the editorial staff and shape BE to truly become what our community most wants.
How did we get here? Let’s turn it over to our founder “Kid” Nate Wilcox:
On the morning of January 20 I received this email from Annie Trombatore, Vox Media’s Chief People Officer:
Ironically I was reading this post at Vox.com minutes before I got the news.
So I sent this tweet:
Vox just laid me off. 15 minutes notice pic.twitter.com/ajRUJZWr8k
— Nate Wilcox (@KidNate) January 20, 2023
A couple hours later I realized my tweet had gone viral, been picked up by the NY Post and I was now the face of Vox laying off 7% of the company.
That triggered a flood of support for me and Bloody Elbow.
Later in the day when I got to briefly speak to Jermaine Spradley, the publisher of SB Nation, he said something about how “we know you’ve built a great community at BloodyElbow.com so let’s talk later about how we can keep that community going.”
It’s true. Bloody Elbow joined SB Nation in 2007, before it was Vox Media. We’ve been a big part of helping build one of the strongest new media brands of the last decade. We’re proud of that.
Vox recognizes that too.
Further discussions with Vox Media revealed that they intended to let me take Bloody Elbow independent on very generous terms.
Wow. That has been my dream for years but I never thought it would be possible.
I have no doubt that the team we have at Bloody Elbow can pull this off.
Problem is, Bloody Elbow has a $30K a month payroll to meet.
We’re going to have to take the site off Vox’s Chorus platform and build a new one (look for that in April).
That means assembling a design and tech team (and paying them).
I don’t want to lay anyone off. This is going to be hard.
Vox has been very generous with me personally — extending my employment for a full month so I could work on the transition and offering a very good severance package.
Unfortunately, the team at Bloody Elbow are independent contractors and have no such cushion.
Fortunately the team at BE has been amazingly supportive and unified through this whole process.
With your generous support we can keep this team together.
At the end of the month all of the Bloody Elbows contractors were notified that they too were ending their relationship with Vox.
Vox has generously extended those contracts through March so we can keep the site going while we transition.
Between the support from Vox, the support from the team and most importantly the support of MMA fans like you, I’ve realized how much Bloody Elbow really matters and I’m determined to keep it going.
We’ve figured out a path forward and your paid subscriptions to this newsletter are going to be critical to keeping the team and community together.
So if you want to see Bloody Elbow move forward, keep the team together and rebuild the community please consider becoming a paid subscriber today.
This testimonial from legendary MMA podcast host, Jordan Breen, long of Sherdog.com (and briefly with Bloody Elbow) sums up our mission:
“Doing editorial writing, there is always the question of, ‘Is there going to be a squeeze on you?’
“Do we have financial backers that are also in bed with UFC or Bellator. You can’t say this and you can’t say that.
“That is something I always loved about Bloody Elbow. For me, Bloody Elbow is the only remaining blog.
“That sounds like a diss to a lot of people, especially in a journalistic sense, but I mean it in the best way possible.”
“I know for a fact that almost every person who makes a decision in this sport, whether it’s someone from UFC, Bellator, ONE Championship, Rizin, people who work for athletic commissions, they read Bloody Elbow every day. Every f—king day.”
“I don’t think it’s the only source of good editorial writing, but it feels for me like the last bastion of MMA editorial writing where people can just be honest.”
With your support Bloody Elbow will stay honest and independent.
Help build the new BE!
We have been proud to build our reputation as a publication known for its fearless editorial voice and in-depth approach to a wide variety of topics.
Bloody Elbow’s willingness to tackle issues surrounding finance, concussion science, crime and politics, alongside more traditional sports topics has made us an industry leader, and go-to news source not just for fight fans, but for industry professionals, commissions, and scholarly research.
It’s also made us a lot of powerful enemies who would be very happy to see Bloody Elbow go away forever.
We’re here to serve you, the fans, and fighters, too; who make such enormous sacrifices to entertain us.
With your support we can build the most independent publication MMA has ever seen.
You won’t be disappointed.
Thanks for reading!
PS: A personal message from Nate Wilcox, our founder and (soon) our publisher:
I have to be honest. I haven’t written regularly about MMA in about ten years. Vox promoted me to editorial manager and I was in charge of several other sites as well as Bloody Elbow.
Anton Tabuena and the team have been running the site under my watch, but… let’s just say Vox wasn’t interested in featuring my opinion pieces.
Those of you who have been reading long enough know I don’t pull punches in my writing.
And that was fine with me, a full decade of sacrificing almost every Saturday night at the alter of the Octagon had thoroughly burned me out on MMA.
It also became obvious that all the “MMA is safer than boxing” propaganda I’d been believing and sharing was a lie.
It’s also become obvious that the finances of the UFC are completely unfair.
But the outpouring of support for Bloody Elbow and me personally has reminded me of why I got into MMA blogging in the first place.
Mixed martial arts can be a beautiful sport.
Many people agree with me that it’s not what it could or should be.
I’ve been silent about MMA for too long.
One promise I can make, I’ll be bringing my voice back into the MMA debate in a big way.
My work will be exclusively featured on the Substack newsletter with only previews available for free on the ad supported BloodyElbow.com.
So if you want to “Blame Kid Nate” you’ll need to be a paid subscriber.
Help build the new BE!
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