Editor’s note: As part of a media transparency initiative, on May 8, 2017, the Collegian spent the last day of publishing of the year telling our readers about us. You can read more about the people behind our publication in the Editor’s Blog.
Occasionally within the realm of sports reporting, the human element of a story’s subject can get lost among the art of word crafting. When attempting to beat a tight deadline, failing to appreciate that all athletes are no different than you or me can be easy.
However, when I had the opportunity to write about amateur MMA fighter Michael Stack, these unfortunate commonalities were far from the truth.
Being able to write about someone who I have seen climb the ranks from an unknown fighter to an undefeated lightweight belt-holder was a rare and incredible experience. I got to see the story develop from square one, and that’s a unique perspective that most stories are unable to incorporate.
Before Stack’s first amateur fight, his aspirations to one day be a professional MMA fighter were apparent to me. The key words here are “one day.” This was back in September 2015 before Stack had made a name for himself.
Since then, Stack has complied a perfect 4-0 record at the amateur level of the Sparta Combat League. He took home the SCL lightweight title back in November at the Budweiser Events Center and has had no problem defending it since. Now, Stack is on the verge of making it professionally.
After covering three of those four SCL matches, I was excited to tell Stack’s story to the world. Part of that excitement came from understanding the impact it would have on those close to Stack. There were certain individuals who were going to do much more with this piece than just quickly glance it over. This in-depth story about Stack and his aspirations was something I wanted to write for him and his supporters.
I learned back at Stack’s debut fight in February 2016 that his family’s support of his UFC quest was unparalleled. His father, who I had the pleasure of speaking with for this piece, displays just as much passion as his son does on fight day.
As I anticipated, Stack and his family, as well as some of his close friends, were very supportive of the piece. It’s not everyday that I get to write a feature that I know will impact individuals on such a personal level. Having the ability to briefly step outside the domain of CSU athletics and into a sport that receives far less coverage made this story worthwhile. And the impact that it had on Stack and his supporters is still something I find so special.
Telling Stack’s journey to Collegian readers was necessary, and the reasons to write about him are growing after each victory.
Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached by email at email@example.com or by Twitter @Eddie_Herz.