MMA On Point Co-Owner Jason Hartley Interview

There are not many MMA YouTube channels making quality content. Most of the videos you will find are interviews with fighters or videos of actual fights that have to be cropped so they won’t be taken down.

One Youtube channel stands above all of the rest, MMA On Point.

MMA On Point was created and launched in August 2017 by Jason Hartley and Tom Ransom. As of today, the Youtube channel has 632K subscribers. MMA On Point puts out three or more videos per week. The videos range from top 10 videos, fighter profiles, opinion videos, and event recaps. More recently MMA on Point has been covering UFC events and interviewing fighters due to them being credentialed.

Co-Owner of MMA on Point, Jason Hartley was interviewed about MMA on Point via email.

Jason Hartley
Jason Hartley

  When did you first start watching MMA?

“I used to know a fighter here in Tennessee that owned a Coffee shop and church – who was also a fighter. An odd combination for sure, but on some nights, we would watch Pride fights or early UFC stuff. This was back in 2000-2001 and his name was John Renken. Back then though, I wasn’t really in tune with it as much. A couple of years later I can remember watching Chuck vs Tito II with friends live, but to be truthful, it didn’t really catch on until Brock fought Randy Couture in 2008. I just couldn’t believe the size difference between the two. From then on it finally stuck and I started watching pretty religiously. One of the first things I did was go back and watch all of the previous UFC’s from UFC 1 onwards,” Hartley said.

How did you meet Tom Ransom?

“We used to work for a UK YouTube company called What Culture (WC). I had applied to be a video editor as just kind of a dream job thing. I’ve always been a big YouTube fan and have quite a lot of favorite channels. Somehow, I got the position and edited quite heavily between 2016 and 2017. The head guy seemed to really like my work and asked if there were any areas I could help WC branch out. So naturally, MMA was my first choice, but after making a few pilot videos, he wasn’t too interested. Tom was also trying to make MMA content for them at the time, so he and I formed a friendship. When WC dumped our work, we decided we would just do it ourselves. That was around March 2017 and we launched MMA On Point in August 2017. The crazy thing is that Tom and I had never met in person until April of 2018. It’s pretty cool what you can accomplish these days just through Skype and text communication.”

Who came up with the idea of creating MMAONPoint?

“I actually created the channel back in 2016 just before I started working for What Culture with my friend Bo Hunter who sometimes joins in on our live chats. The two of us would write – and this isn’t a knock on him – but it was mostly me back then because I would do the majority of the writing and was the only one who could edit videos. It just didn’t work because we weren’t making any money and it was far too much a time investment to keep going. There was another guy after What Culture that wanted to help but didn’t really have the editing ability or as much time as we’d hoped. So at that point, Tom actually wasn’t as interested, but in July of 2017 I was getting prepared to go solo with the channel on my own, that’s when I got a message from Tom saying he’d like to join up with me. It’s honestly the best thing that could have ever happened because we could both write, both edit. We were passionate and willing to sacrifice a lot of our free time. If Tom didn’t write me a message that day, I’m sure MMA On Point would have fizzled out because the time investment of these videos is just far too enormous for one person to keep going. YouTube is a volume game in a lot of ways.”

Why did you create MMAOnPoint?

“I don’t know truthfully. I was active in a lot of sports growing up, but never trained in martial arts, never really got into fights growing up and I don’t have an interest in training. I just find the sport captivating in perhaps more primal ways than anything. I can’t seem to adequately express what it is that I like about it so much…I just do. Even after nearly three years of doing this as a full-time job, I never lose interest in it. Sometimes having your hobbies or interests turned into a job could be the death knell, but for me, the interest has stayed constant and increased over time. I really do just love it.”

Why the name MMAOnPoint?

“I’ve been a musician since I was about 13 and am 33 now. Every time I would start a new band, there was always a huge issue about what you should name yourself. Then you start to realize how many terrible names there truly are out there like the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zepplin, etc… and you really don’t think about it. You just know you like those bands and their name’s meaning changes. Essentially the lesson learned from this was just to go with my gut and not overthink it. That being said, I do like the name, but I just came up with it quickly and was one of my first ideas.”

Before you had editors, did you edit everything yourself?

“Yes, and we still edit now, but no longer every video.  When we first started, Tom and I would just write and edit our own pieces, but hearing your own voice for as much as 20 hours a week between writing, editing the audio and then editing the video for so long can really wear on you. So when we brought Tommy Toe Hold in, Tom and I began doing ‘tandem edits’ and started splitting up the entries for our own pieces that mixed it up nicely. Having the video editors since then come along has made things soooo much better though. It really unlocked our time to focus on expansion and new ideas. I’m really grateful to have them and am proud to bring other people in with us.”

How did it feel to get credentialed by the UFC?

“In many ways, we’ve been outsiders of industry. There really aren’t a lot of MMA YouTubers that have found their way into that world. It felt like validation and recognition to an extent. So yeah, validating would be the word I’d use.”

What was your first event after being credentialed?

“Bellator has been pretty amazing to us from the beginning.  We started in August 2017 and in December 2017, they approved Tom to go to a card in Newcastle, England that month. They really seem to foster fan content creation in a way that I wish the UFC and other leagues would in this space. I did get to go with Tom to Bellator 200 as credentialed media then as well in London, but we quickly realized that we needed more of a strategy with going to events. That started to formulate by the time we finally got approved for our first UFC event for the Raleigh card in January of this year. We did our best to go to every card we could from then onto the pandemic cancellations where things are currently at, but it’s been amazing so far and once all that resumes, I really look forward to doing great things there.”

What do you see for the future of MMAOnPoint? Takedown MMAJunkie as the No. 1 site?

“Haha not at all. We’re huge fans of MMA Junkie, MMA Fighting, MMA Weekly, you name it. Those guys are pioneers and I really feel like our voice and role are different from theirs. We are first and foremost fans. We aren’t journalists and our goal is to cover the sport as fans. I think those people are far better at it than we could ever hope to be. To answer your question though, I think developing our voice for covering live events is a massive part of our future, working directly with fighters to create exclusive, in-depth content, new video formats for the channel as it currently stands and raising the bar we have set for our normal videos.”

What is one thing you would like to see change in MMA or the UFC?

“A fighter’s union would be great to see. I think times like this really highlight the need for that and I’d love to see those people more properly compensated. I’d like to see more personality interjected into events, particularly UFC events that always have the same production and presentation, the same outfits and none of it ever really changes.”

Here are some of Jason Hartley’s favorite things:

  • Favorite all-time fighter – Probably Chuck Liddell or Sakuraba
  • Favorite fighter to watch – Dominick Cruz
  • Favorite all-time fight to watch – Randy Couture vs Enson Inoue is the hipster choice, but ultimately the appropriate answer to give here.
  • Favorite knockout – Dan Henderson’s H-Bomb on Bisping.
  • Worst Fight of all time – Dan Severn vs Ken Shamrock – UFC 9
  • Favorite sport to watch other than MMA – Esports maybe? Speedruns more specifically.
  • Favorite movie – Dumb and Dumber. IQ = 300.
  • Favorite TV show – The Office
  • Favorite song – Transatlanticism – Death Cab For Cutie
  • Favorite band or musician – Death Cab For Cutie, Chon has crept up in recent years.
  • Favorite hobby – Drumming.

You can follow Jason Hartley on Twitter @jasonthehart and watch MMA On Point on Youtube.

Check out my ‘Humanizing’ series.

Eryk Anders Mike Rod Nik Lentz Yorgan De Castro Jamahal Hill

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