Sunday, May 26, 2013
Stephanie Skinner and Cassie Robb Discuss "Inappropriate" Communications with MMA Writer
Photo courtesy of Fightfan.net
In an interview conducted today, female MMA fighters Stephanie Skinner and Cassie Robb discuss what they feel is inappropriate communications from writer Eric Holden. Holden, known for articles playing up the "sexy" side of female fighters, had, according to Robb and Skinner, several contacts with both fighters focusing on their openly gay relationship, including stating that their kissing photos gave him a "boner", that they should post more "PG-13" photos and inquiring about their openness to "threesomes". Some of those communications have been saved and screen shots will appear at the end of this interview conducted with both fighters. At the conclusion of the interview is a brief statement given by Racheal Blaze that she gave when contacted about questions that were asked of her by Holden in an interview he had sent her. Mr. Holden is welcome at any time to refute the allegations made by Robb and Skinner.
Q: Let's start with Cassie because he talked with you first correct?
Q: How did you initially come into contact with Eric?
CR: He just asked me to do a couple interviews for him. He sent me a personal message on Facebook and after that he wrote me daily.
Q: He put you on some of his top ten lists to correct?
Q: At the time, was that something you were o.k. with?
CR: It didn't really bother me I guess. He hadn't started being that flirtatious with me yet. I always felt that any time he talked to me or interviewed with me, he was more worried about the sex appeal aspect of the sport, he didn't really care about my talents.
Q: When did he start with the flirtatious stuff?
CR: A couple weeks after he started interviewing me, he would say really inappropriate things like talking about me and my girlfriend and saying things he shouldn't have said. I wasn't rude back, I just said "you're weird, stop."
Q: Can you give an idea of the inappropriate things he said?
CR: He was telling me that my kissy pictures with my girlfriend gave him boners. He asked if we would be interested in threesomes. Really sexual questions about me because we have a lesbian relationship. Just putting in his two cents about how hot he thought it was and felt a need to tell me about it.
Q: Stephanie when did he start contacting you?
SS: He started messaging me probably the same time he started messaging Cassie. A couple weeks after those articles came out where he made his top ten sexy lists. He messaged me about Cassie.
Q: Did he give you the same kind of inappropriate messages?
SS: Yeah, his weren't as inappropriate to me because of the role I play in our relationship. His were to me were that "Cassie is such a sexy little lady" and the same comment that our kissy photos gave him a boner and then that "you guys should post more PG-13 stuff for us to see." Telling me that Invicta had him obsessed, not just because of the talent, but because of all the hot girls on it. I was like "dude, you should be there for the talent, we are not her for our sex appeal, we are here for our talent."
Q: You guys saved some of these messages correct?
Q: Did you save them to eventually make him stop? Was there a purpose in saving them?
SS: For me, it was saving so I could be like "Cassie, you should hear what this guy is saying and making these lists." I'm the type of person that I save stuff like that cause one way or another it can come back around. If someone says you said something, we will know, and know what I said in return.
Q: Did either of you at some point tell him he had to stop?
CR: Yeah, both of us did. I ended up blocking him on Facebook and Twitter so he would stop contacting me. I just had to bring up the messages today so I could screen capture them and he wrote me today trying to apologize and I just ignored him.
Q: When he was first told to stop, what was his reaction?
CR: He just played it off. He thought I was kidding around. I gave short answers like "I don't know why you are asking me that, that's weird." He played it off like it was some kind of joke.
Q: Did he ever seem mad that you asked him to stop?
CR: No, he just thought I was messing around with him. He was constantly sending messages. Half the time he would send five messages before I would write back.
Q: Did you ever tell anyone else about this?
CR: I contacted Janet Martin about it. I told my coaches and teammates.
Q: When is the last time you had any communication with him?
CR: For me, it was today. Like I said, I had to unblock him and pull up the messages. He wrote me an apology and I said "karma is a bitch and I don't accept your apology."
Q: Before today, when was the last time?
CR: Probably a month or two ago.
SS: For me it was when he interviewed Jordan Gaza about cheerleaders in MMA. He made comments to me in a message, I told him my comments and then ended up blocking him because I think he is ignorant.
Q: Everyone knows he focuses on the sex appeal side of fighters, as fighters, how do you feel when that is what is focused on?
CR: It really upsets both of us. It's not what we are trying to get known for. There are fighters who use that, but neither of us is that kind of person.
SS: I am with Cassie on that. We are here for our talent and not our sex appeal. For someone to focus only on sex appeal, I don't like that at all. To see my girlfriend on a top ten list of some guy who is a creeper? This dude is not good, her is a pervert. All the messages he sent to me and Cassie, just proved it more. I wish someone would make him stop and tell him to go away.
Q: We saw Brett Atchley and all the thigns that came out, if Eric was at an event that one of you fought on, would it be hard for you to be there and fight if he is around?
CR: Yeah, it would be really difficult. I wouldn't be comfortable being around him in person. For how much he hurt Alyssa (Vasquez), how he was over the Internet, I cant imagine how he would be in person and don't wanna meet someone like that.
SS: I am in the same boat. If he was ever to be at an event I was at, I feel I couldn't hold back from saying what I want to him, that "that is my partner and you were saying inappropriate things to my partner and telling me inappropriate things about my partner." It would be hard to refrain from saying things and being confrontational.
Q: Some fighters are o.k. with his articles, are you o.k. with others who don't see a problem with his types of articles?
CR: I feel like maybe he didn't personally attack them like he did us. Maybe he flatters them without stepping over the lines. For us, I don't think any of what he did is o.k.
SS: I agree with Cassie on that. Maybe these are girls who will use their sex appeal to get a little further, and nothing is wrong with that, but some of us don't want that spotlight. We don't want it for our looks and bodies, we want it for our talent and hard work. Overall, it is inappropriate, regardless of pro or ammy, big name or little name. Like Cassie said, maybe he hasn't said anything to these girls like us. Maybe it is because we are an openly gay couple that he felt it was o.k., but I don't.
Q: So do you think maybe being an openly gay couple played any part in why he would say things to you that he wouldn't say to others?
CR: I think so. I don't think he would randomly send the messages he sent to both ends of an openly gay couple and make those comments if it were a heterosexual couple. I think he would think the man would step in and say something and he thought with two girls, they would be to scared to come forward. This guy writes articles that people read, what can he say about us that is bad? If we tell, what will happen? Will anyone care or believe it?
SS: I agree with everything she said.
Q: If you were not as open about your relationship, do you think he would have said these things?
CR: I don't think so. I think it is because we are so open and comfortable with who we are. We don't hide anything about us being together. I think he felt that was us opening the door for him to ask or say anything he wanted.
Q: You are talking now, did you debate ever talking?
CR: Yeah, I didn't take it to heart at first. At first it wasn't horrible things. It started just being a little flirtatious. Just a fan being friendly. But then after awhile it was more.
SS: For me it was harder to take because his messages to me were about my girlfriend and how hot she was and that he is a fanboy. I wasn't gonna say anything till Cassie felt a need because it is more involved than me. When she told me she told Janet, I felt at ease. Then when the whole Don't Click movement started and hearing things he said, we needed to prove that he is a perverted minded person, here is proof, the cherry on the top to try and end this.
Q: With all this stuff with Brett Atchley going on, does it put a bigger emphasis on speaking out about things like this?
CR: Yeah, I think it does. It shows this is a community, a family of people willing to step forward and protect those in the family. The more people that come forward about people doing things, we realize we are a huge family, let us support you, here is how we can help. It makes it easier knowing you are not the only one, that he has done this to other people, it makes it easier that it wasn't just us. That was the thing we worried about.
Q: Do you in any way look back and wonder if there was anything you could have said that gave him the impression that this was o.k.?
CR: I don't think we could have done anything that would allow that action at all. That is never o.k. to say those things to somebody.
SS: When he started off with me, it was just "I am a fan of your girlfriend" and worked his way into saying he was a fan of me and then started taking about our looks. I just said "thanks for the compliment." Maybe by being thankful and humble, he got the wrong impression. BY nature I am a humble person and until you push me, I will not be confrontational. When he made those remarks I said "that is my girlfriend you are talking about" to try and put a halt to it. He took it as a joking manner.
Q: Anything you want to add?
CR: I don't think so. We said what needed to be said. You have the screen shots of some of the things he said and I think that is enough.
Racheal Blaze statement: I did receive questions for an interview of which I declined due to the nature of the questions. As The Ambassador of Combat Sports, I felt it was not positive or would reflect a positive outlook on our sport.