Tonight at 6 p.m. on Mike Stidham's radio show on 97.5 The Zone, the mixed martial arts promoter and subject of this week's cover story will be discussing this paper's portrayal of him with its author. ---
Not quite sure what to expect, but I'm looking forward to Mike's thoughts on the story. I interviewed at the very least 30 people for this story and probably spent a good 10 hours with Mike alone -- again, at the very least.
The story began when Mike asked if we would be interested in looking at essentially a conspiracy he painted between Republican politician and boxing fan Greg Hughes and the current regime at the Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Boxing Commission. I duly pursued that story over the period of several months, attending PSUAC's administrative hearing over his promoter's license, among other issues, talked to Hughes, members of the commission, several fighters, attended several fight cards and then went off and wrote a draft.
But the draft I came up with felt forced and had a so-what factor that left me somewhat puzzled. I also felt I had less than half the story. So I visited with other MMA promoters, talked to another fighter and also to one of Mike's closest relatives and discovered a different picture than the one I had started with.
At the heart of this story, for me at least, has always been the question: Who is Mike Stidham? I'm not sure I managed to answer that. Instead I have come away with the impression that the only place I would probably ever answer that is in a cage with him, gloves on, going head to head. Since I doubt that will ever happen, I guess I will have to make do with our chat tonight.