Ariel Helwani recently made some interesting comments about his historic feud with Dana White.
The largest spat between Helwani and White occurred during the UFC 199 media week when the Canadian journalist broke the news Brock Lesnar’s would be on UFC 200 card. This resulted in Helwani getting “banned” from attending UFC events that was eventually modified. (He is currently free to attend but as soon as White enters the building, Hewlani gets escorted out.)
After this event, the UFC president attacked Helwani with a lot of ammo – perhaps more than it merited considering this was bound to come out sooner or later.
Although there hasn’t been much tension between Ariel Helwani and Dana White in a while, this is still one of the most significant events in MMA media history and has had a lasting impact on Helwani’s career.
MMA media is basically pay to play and majority of the media accredited journalists have no journalistic background or education. This is perhaps why there’s so much unmemorable content out there. In exchange for access, the athletes and Dana White get softballed endlessly.
Helwani is the outlier. He has actual journalistic education and doesn’t shy away from asking the hard questions – even though he’s not exactly brazen about it.
He recently discussed how his relationship with the UFC president ended on a recent broadcast of the MMA Hour.
“That was the most upset, mad I ever got, was when he referenced my family, because there’s a line. It shows that he has no line. I would never talk about someone’s family, I would never talk about, in that way, even referencing them, because there’s a lot I could say and turn the tables, but I would never do that. There’s a line.”
“But that just goes to show, among many things, the differences between us. At that moment, that’s when in my mind I was like, ‘This is different, this is weird.’”
Helwani is of course talking about the time White went on Matt Serra’s UFC Unfiltered podcast and made the following comments.
Later on Helwani explained that this angered him greatly:
“Anyone can say whatever they want, but he was on a podcast – I think it was UFC [Unfiltered] – and he was talking about the episode where I got emotional and he said… ‘One day his kids are going to look at him on camera and see him crying and see what kind of a weak person he is’… and nothing p****d me off more than that. Don’t mention my kids, don’t mention my family. I have never mentioned yours.”