White: Helwani ‘stole from fans’, threw a ‘pity party’

It appears that UFC president Dana White is still fuming over the fallout from UFC 199. During the PPV show, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani…

By: Karim Zidan | 7 years ago
White: Helwani ‘stole from fans’, threw a ‘pity party’
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

It appears that UFC president Dana White is still fuming over the fallout from UFC 199.

During the PPV show, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani was escorted out of the building ahead of the Michael Bisping vs. Luke Rockhold main event for accurately reporting that Brock Lesnar had signed with the UFC. The promotion’s decision evidently garnered more mainstream attention than they had anticipated, which eventually led to them reinstating MMAFighting.com’s credentials following a short-lived lifetime ban.

While Helwani and the remainder of the team are no longer banned from UFC events, they are far from being in Dana White’s good graces, as he revealed on the first episode of ‘UFC Unfiltered’ with Matt Serra and Jim Norton. (Audio starts at the 47:00 timestamp)

“Well [Ariel] got his credential back, I wouldn’t say he’s in decent graces. [When] we built that promo, a lot of people were quiet about it, and a lot of people — it was for the fans. That thing was for the fans for that wow factor to be there and go, ‘Oh wow, Brock’s back!’ And the way that he did it, it had a lot of people pointing fingers at each other. You notice I wasn’t out there putting the belt on Dominick Cruz. Then when I ran out to put the belt on Bisping — because I’ve been with Bisping for 10 years, he’s such a great guy — my sleeves are rolled up, I got no jacket on, ‘cuz I’m dealing with the aftermath of the weasel move that he pulled. People can call it journalism or whatever. We can have our differences of opinion on that, but he knows what he did, and he did it on purpose. Then he goes on fuckin’ thing and he’s crying and shit. Dude, your kids are going to see that for christ sakes. You know what I mean? Give me a fuckin’ break.”

White also sounded off on the WWE’s role in making Lesnar’s UFC return happen, and now Helwani’s decision to break the news on MMA Fighting affected things behind-the-scenes.

“The bottom is line is this: it was all about Ariel! Journalism is supposed to be when you’re a guy that covers the sport, it’s about the sport. What we did in that spot was for the fans, and a lot of good people worked hard to pull that thing off and to make that thing happen, and to try to keep it a secret, including the WWE, and a lot of things were set in place. They graciously let us have Brock Lesnar, and a lot of things were set in place for them that had to be done, and it left a lot of people pointing the finger at each other, almost blew up a relationship and created a lot of bad blood behind the scenes, and he didn’t care. It was all about him. Even after it was over, it was all about him, and his big world tour pity-party that he threw for himself. And he goes on crying on his show and shit.”

Shortly thereafter, White proceeded to enlighten listeners with his opinion on journalism.

“When you’re a real journalist, you reach out, and you say, ‘Hey this is the rumor, this is going on and everything else, and I’m going to run with it.’ That’s what the real journalists do. He’s a website guy, you know what I mean? It’s just a totally different world now. There’s still a lot of real journalists out there that before they do something, they reach out and show that respect and have that relationship, whereas [Ariel] is not that guy. A lot of people support him, and good for you and all that stuff, but a lot of people have turned on him, too.”

White, who insisted that the UFC had no intention of controlling the narrative when they escorted Ariel out of the building, blamed Helwani because he seemingly broke a story that the UFC had worked hard to keep a secret.

“There’s so much more to that thing than was represented. I know he threw a big pity-party for himself and all that shit, but there was a lot more to it. A lot more people were involved in that thing, and it almost blew up a huge relationship that I wouldn’t even get into publicly. That’s why we just came out with a statement. I don’t know. It was dirty, he knows it was dirty, and he threw a big pity-party for himself (*makes crying noises*), crying on camera and shit. It’s just fucking ridiculous. It is what it is, none of that shit’s gonna change.

“Ariel Helwani knows. I’ve done a lot of shit for Ariel Helwani. A lot of shit for Ariel Helwani, and it’s just you know, whatever man. It’s all good.”

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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