UFC releases statement on Helwani, MMA Fighting staff

June 6, 2016

The UFC has backpedaled on its initial stance on banning Ariel Helwani and other MMA Fighting staff from receiving media credentials from the company in a prepared statement from the company.

From the UFC.com web site:

Following a conversation with the editorial team at SB Nation, UFC will not prevent MMAFighting.com from receiving media credentials to cover live UFC events. We respect the role the media plays in our sport and beyond, including MMAFighting’s ability to report news. However, in our opinion, we believe the recurring tactics used by its lead reporter extended beyond the purpose of journalism. We feel confident our position has now been adequately communicated to the SB Nation editorial team.

UFC’s goal as the world’s leading mixed martial arts promotion is to cultivate interest in its world-class athletes and events, and deliver for the fans. We will continue to introduce this sport and its athletes to new fans across the world, and we will do so by working alongside media across all platforms.

The ”lead reporter” is obviously Ariel Helwani.  As MMA Fighting staff, I assume Helwani’s ban is lifted.  The timing of the statement comes after Helwani’s show, the “MMA Hour” in which he seemingly peeled back the curtain on the media practices of the UFC.  He revealed that he was paid directly from Zuffa for some Fox shows.  He also came close to describing a physical altercation with UFC staff.

Helwani has been on a media tour since his ejection from 199 on Saturday night.  He was made the MMA media martyr and mainstream journalists applauded Helwani’s right to free speech.

Payout Perspective:

Another PR gaffe by the UFC in which it had to “reinstate” the credentials for Vox media staff.  But, the statement did indicate “recurring tactics” by Helwani which “extended beyond the purpose of journalism.”  One would hope that the UFC consulted with journalism professionals and its legal team when coming out with this statement.  Helwani’s decision to reveal news communicated to him by a source should not be his fault but that of the person that is giving it to him.  It will be interesting thing to see going forward is how Helwani will cover the UFC from here on out.

8 Responses to “UFC releases statement on Helwani, MMA Fighting staff”

  1. tops E on June 7th, 2016 12:54 AM


    No wonder they backpedaled…
    Hahahaha….helwani should say in detail what they did to him…beat him up? he kept mentioning the sale of the ufc but does not pursue it….this is a pr nightmare, now people have a glimpse on how a cheapee promotion is run…hahaha

  2. mmaguru on June 7th, 2016 3:31 AM

    Good to see things are back to where they should be.

  3. Wil on June 7th, 2016 3:34 AM

    I wonder how long the fan base will continue to follow the UFC with its continuing abusiveness towards both media and fighters

  4. mmaguru on June 7th, 2016 10:03 AM

    Ariel and his team has been reinstated. I guess the outpouring of support within the mainstream media had a lot to do with it.

  5. BrainSmasher on June 7th, 2016 10:54 AM

    Ariel was disrespectful when he refused to meet Dana backstage. I feel that was the reason for his ban. That was unprofessional of him when he is a guest at the event. He also knowing under cut them by 2 hours. What did he have to gain releasing it 2 hours early? He had nothing to gain and knew he was hurting the UFC.

    I didn’t have any sympathy for him. Even though the UFC lifted the ban. I doubt they will use him in the same capacity as before anytime soon, if ever. I think when you have the relationship they obviously had and are given the prefered treatment by them he was getting. You are expected to at very least not try to be spiteful to the company. If he broke the news 1 week before it would be different. But he knew of the UFC plans and even knew it would piss them off. Which he admitted and was his reason for refusing to see Dana which made things worse. Ariel acted like a child!

  6. tops E on June 7th, 2016 11:38 AM

    Any investigative journalism mmapayout on the situation of the sale? Helwani was itching to say to the public in the video….ufc brings back lesnar paid a lot of money,probably paid something to wwe just to increase ppv for 200, dw saying connor was yanked because he did not attend media obligations, lesnar also did not attend,but his part of 200. he last fought 2011,its a desperation move and is related to the sale

  7. tops E on June 7th, 2016 11:39 AM

    Even ufc paid fanboys stay silent when its about the sale

  8. mmaguru on June 7th, 2016 11:42 AM

    tops E. Everything in business is related to making money, so of course it will add buys to the event that was not garnering much attention since Conor’s tweet.

    As for what type of deal was struck, I suspect that we will have some type of “cross” promotion going on and I use that word lightly. WWE wants Ronda to appear again on their PPV, I would think she will show up at Summer Slam.

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