16 for 16: No. 8 UFC pulls credentials for Helwani after breaking news

December 25, 2016

While it may not be a pure business or legal story, the UFC expelling Ariel Helwani and two others at UFC 199 is a reflection of the unique business of the company under Dana White and the Fertittas.

This past June, Helwani was escorted out of UFC 199 prior to the end of the event along with Esther Lin and Casey Leydon.  He was given a lifetime ban by the UFC as they revoked the credentials of the individuals representing MMA Fighting and SB Nation.  The web site and its parent company supported the three after the incident.

The reason for the revocation was due to Helwani’s discovery that Brock Lesnar was going to return to the Octagon at July’s UFC 200.  The UFC had planned to unveil this news on its own but Helwani received the confirmation.  Notably, the information was confirmed from someone with the knowledge of Lesnar’s return so the question becomes why the UFC was angered with Helwani’s report and not the fact that someone had leaked this information.

Ironically, people with knowledge of the Saturday night incident did not reveal the details or break this news until Helwani could give his first-hand account on The MMA Hour on Monday.  Thus, while media supported Helwani for getting the scoop on the Lesnar news, they were reluctant to break what they knew of the Helwani story because it was Helwani’s story.

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the UFC reinstated Helwani, Lin and Leydon.

The incident highlights the current state of the media and the stories they cover.  Jeremy Botter and Darren Rovell were threatened by the UFC (Botter with a letter from the company’s attorney) when they reported news of a UFC sale in June.  While the UFC denied these allegations, we all know now that the sale was true.  Currently, the news that Ronda Rousey will not be obligated to speak to the media during fight week has infuriated many.  She has only given limited access to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and appeared on The Ellen Show to appease her women demo.  We now have The Player’s Tribune so that athletes can convey their side of the story without a media filter.  But the push-pull of media and its subjects and control of a story were highlighted with Helwani doing what journalists do and the UFC being angered that it could not control the story.  These things happen in non-sports as well as we know.  With the new UFC owners, we shall see how much access it will grant MMA media as opposed to its control of information and releasing it to certain outlets.

3 Responses to “16 for 16: No. 8 UFC pulls credentials for Helwani after breaking news”

  1. Etops on December 26th, 2016 7:04 AM

    Ariel is a shitty person anyway. Its sad he is the top guy of mma news media.

    I’ll give boxing credit, Max Kellerman is more credible at his job. If you listen to Ariel, he wants ufc to be wwe.

  2. Jason Cruz on December 26th, 2016 8:54 AM

    Boxing media seems to be a little like MLB media except less jaded. LOL. But, guys like Kellerman don’t pull punches (see what I did there) when being critical of a fighter.

    I think Helwani does a good job but feels like he has a duty to promote and protect MMA. I didn’t put in the post but I thought sports media coming to the “rescue” of Helwani was self-serving as well. Essentially when guys like Dan Patrick and ESPN commentators come to the rescue its only to serve themselves rather than in defense of journalism. Those guys know the game and like being friends with the subjects they cover. What do you think would have happened if NFL pulled a media guys credentials? You think they would have come to the rescue then?

    I recall guys like Peter King putting their head in the sand when that Deflategate thing went down.

  3. Etops on December 26th, 2016 10:37 AM

    I like Brett Okamoto reporting.

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