Former UFC fighter Kenny Florian has been suspended by FOX Sports after it emerged he’d plagiarised a section of an article he had written on their website.
“It is vitally important that FOX Sports and FOXSports.com maintain credibility and trust with their readers, viewers and fans,” a statement from FOX Sports reads. “FOX UFC on-air personality Kenny Florian is being suspended beginning immediately for a critical oversight in a story posted earlier this week on FOXSports.com. Florian has admitted and regrets his mistake and apologized for the error.”
Florian, who’s frequently seen on FOX Sports as both a presenter, co-host and MMA analyst for MMA shows as well as providing color commentary for many of the UFC’s ‘Fight Night’ cards, had written an article at the start of the week analysing this weekend’s ‘UFC Fight Night 81’ main event title fight between TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz in which he went into detail regarding Cruz’s distinctive footwork.
The trouble started when boxing analyst Lee Wylie spoke out on Twitter accusing Florian of having virtually copied word-for-word what he’d said in a YouTube video analysing boxing hall-of-famer Willie Pep.
“I think somebody has been watching my Willie Pep video,” Wylie wrote. “@kennyflorian An acknowledgement would have been nice,” he continued, adding later, “There are bound to be some similarities when it comes to fight analysis, but this is outrageous.”
Florian did then contact Wylie to apologize and later wrote a statement explaining how the situation had arisen.
“To my fans and followers I’d like to apologize for an oversight on my part.
As a student and fan of the martial arts, I have been recording observations on fighters in various combat disciplines since 1997, and at times include attributed commentary from other sources. In preparing an article on the upcoming Cruz/Dillashaw fight for FOXSports.com, I referred to my notes specifically to research comparisons of Willie Pep and Dominick Cruz. I referenced perspectives on Pep, which were originally articulated by Lee Wylie. To my regret and embarrassment, a credit was not listed where I should have listed it. Upon realizing this error, I immediately contacted Lee and apologized, and corrected the associated paragraph in the article, properly attributing Lee as the source.
Your trust is paramount in my credibility and reputation, and I promise to be more careful in the future.”
For the record, Wylie appears to have accepted Florian’s direct apology to him, stating, “Show me someone who hasn’t made a mistake, and I’ll show you a liar. It’s not the end of the world.”
And indeed when the word broke that FOX Sports had suspended Florian over the issue, Wylie indicated that he felt uncomfortable that things had gone that far.
“Feeling pretty sh*tty right now,” Wylie commented on Twitter. “Kenny is a good guy.
Up until this point many people would probably have agreed with that last sentiment as Florian has always enjoyed a squeeky clean reputation in the sport, both as a fighter and in his subsequent move into broadcasting, but this incident will undoubtedly damage his image and time will tell what kind of impact it will have on his career in the media.
Florian was due to provide color commentary for UFC Fight Night 81 this evening, but that will no longer be the case. Earlier in the week he’d indicated that he’d address the issue on the next episode of the ‘Anik & Florian Podcast’ which is set to air on Tuesday.