Comment: Katie Taylor’s perceived lack of coverage isn’t a gender issue.

Katie Taylor takes on Delfine Persoon this Saturday night and much of the talk in the build up seems to be about a supposed lack of coverage.

Let me be frank. I’m not necessarily a lover of people who jump on a bandwagon when it comes to big sporting events. Although this is a website dedicated to MMA, I wrote a preview ahead of Katie Taylor’s upcoming fight against Delfine Persoon.

Why? Well, it’s simply too big a fight to ignore and while championing one of Ireland’s greatest sports stars via the medium of Twitter over the last number of years, I felt compelled to offer her a larger offering ahead of her huge title fight on Saturday.

LACK OF COVERAGE

The build up to any of Katie Taylor’s fights is often a bizarre one. Rather than the fight itself, many people who post on social media often criticise a ‘lack of coverage’.

Again, I must reiterate that this is purely a mixed martial arts website that just changed tact ever so briefly to fill a void of this supposed media blackout.

It must be frustrating for the ever brilliant Gavan Casey of The42.ie who covers boxing and Katie Taylor more in depth than I do to be swarmed with messages criticising the media for not publishing an article every hour on the hour.

SOUNDBITE OR SUBSTANCE

To compare Taylor to a certain Conor McGregor for a moment, you’ll get the usual mob asking various publications as to why they cover a foul mouthed cocky fighter – who may not even fight again –  more than a woman who is at the peak of her career and doing her country proud?

It boils down to how you as a person consume your media. Do you prefer a soundbite or substance?

If you’re looking for the former, your various clickbait sites will have you covered about the latest shocking thing Conor McGregor has said and done.

Of course, there’s plenty of well written content available surrounding Conor McGregor that isn’t tabloid peddled filler. Similarly, there’s pieces out there about Katie Taylor (believe it or not) that praise her as an athlete and deep dives into her technique.

Just because Katie Taylor doesn’t drop an F-bomb or go off on her opponents during her pre-fight press conferences, doesn’t mean she gets a raw deal from the media.

GENDER

Katie Taylor has done absolute wonders for women’s professional boxing in terms of exciting fights, increased payments to female boxers and now a historic unification fight in the coming days.

If you were to ask Taylor how she feels about press coverage, she clearly doesn’t care. “I’m just focused on the biggest fight of my life” she said yesterday evening during the allotted media day.

Yet, you will still see people who don’t believe she is getting the rightful plaudits and turning it into a non-existent gender battle.

Of course boxing is a male dominated sport. It’s no different to most other sporting codes but all the talk has been about Katie’s fight rather than the actual headliner in Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr.

To say that she is getting no media exposure is wrong and to suggest that it’s because of a gender issue, you are absolutely looking for something that quite simply isn’t there.

Is there discrepancy in payments between male and female athletes? Absolutely. Is there a struggle for female athletes to gain sponsorship and earn a decent living in comparison to their male counterparts? You betcha.

That’s a worthy argument to make. It has been an ongoing debate for years and will continue to boil away under the surface for years to come but to say the media – be it paid or independent – aren’t writing about Katie Taylor because of her gender is an absurd claim and wanders into very dangerous territory.

I wonder if the tables were reversed and Katie Taylor decided to be as brash and arrogant as a certain chap from Crumlin, would journalists be flooded with ‘why are you giving this so and so all of this coverage?’.

It’s quite likely. *insert shrugging shoulders emoji here*

*Katie Taylor takes on Delfine Persoon live from Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday night from 10pm with coverage available on Sky Sports Box Office.

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