Knockout Coverage - Danny Acosta '09

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“What is the need here?”

Danny Acosta ’09 always had an interest in martial arts. He grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and professional wrestling and even received wrestling magazines in the mail.

As he flipped through the magazines, Acosta’s interest in media grew and thought of writing as his vocation for the first time.

Leap forward two decades and his credits include Sherdog.com, SiriusXM, ESPN, and Fox Sports to name a few. Whether it is his Sirius XM show, a story, a documentary, or an on-air interview, Acosta is now one of the more trusted names in mixed martial arts journalism.

But first, let’s go back a decade to the mid-2000s at Saint Mary’s. MMA nor the UFC were mainstream and were being kept alive by a passionate fan base. Acosta was one of those passionate fans and an assignment from Fr. Mike Russo set the wheels in motion.

“My assignment from Fr. Russo was write about whatever you want but do it in the inverted pyramid structure,” Acosta said. “I said I’m spending too much time watching MMA fights on the Internet as opposed to writing so I kind of killed two birds with one stone starting with that assignment.

“It was a good enough example of the inverted pyramid that Fr. Russo had me present it to the rest of the class.”

The aspiring writer then made the decision to reach out and find his opportunity. He emailed his favorite MMA website, Sherdog.com, and got a response from one of the forefathers of MMA journalism, Josh Gross.

“He essentially broke me in,” Acosta said. “There’s a lot of great MMA in the Bay Area and they didn’t have anyone in the Bay Area. By presenting that pitch to them, I was taking care of something they needed done which is what allowed me to, as someone who was basically an amateur, get in the door. “

About the same time the sport grew, the media industry shifted. Reporters were no longer just writers. They were photographers, bloggers, analysts, and videographers. Acosta’s coverage had to evolve.

“I started as someone who wanted to write and that’s not realistic for the media landscape in which we exist,” he said. “If you’re going to do anything in media, you either need to have a great day job or be in a very fortunate position where you could dedicate 100 percent to it.”

Acosta’s dedication to the craft led to his most revealing story when he traveled to do a 2010 documentary on fighter Nick Diaz, called Down with Diaz, for Fight Magazine. Acosta was on less than two hours of sleep, drove from San Jose to Stockton, to meet him at 5 a.m.

“I literally just wanted to tell Nick Diaz’s story. He’s a very mercurial figure, he’s very eccentric and I feel I was able to communicate more of a Nick Diaz people have gotten to know over the years because of that.”

Acosta, who covered UFC 202 ringside for Sirius XM, continues to combine his passions of writing and MMA and has been carried by the obligation he feels to his fellow fans.

“At the end of the day, I’m a fan and I talk to fans. I figured out through that what people would want and I hope to provide that. I want to provide ESPN quality content to the consumer here because they deserve it and the fighters deserve it.”