Thursday 19 April 2018

MMA's most prominent journalist explains why the UFC 'banned him for life'

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

There was a massive upset over the weekend in the UFC that was every bit as surprising as Conor McGregor's loss to Nate Diaz as Englishman Michael Bisping won the middleweight title after a stunning knockout of Luke Rockhold.

But although the main event of UFC 199 was spectacular, a large amount of focus after the bout centered around the treatment of one of the sport's most prominent voices.

Journalist Ariel Helwani is well-established as the leading news breaker in MMA media, with the American attracting the ire of Dana White and the UFC top brass on a number of occasions for announcing their major fights before they could break the news themselves.

Helwani had two majors scoops last Saturday, breaking the news that McGregor will have his rematch with Nate Diaz on August 20 and that WWE star and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will return to the sport at UFC 202.

It seems that those news stories tipped UFC President White over the edge, as according to Helwani, White banned him for life and kicked him out of the press box before the main event at UFC 199.

White reportedly said that Helwani will never be given accreditation to another UFC event as long as he is running the organisation.

The incident has proved to be very controversial, with throngs of people coming out in support of Helwani, who is one of the sport's most respected pundits. Not only are fans rallying around Helwani, but a multitude of journalists are also voicing their support, with many fearing that the UFC is setting a dangerous precedent with the move.

Helwani took to his podcast, The MMA Hour, this afternoon to tell his side of the story, and it makes for very interesting listening.


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