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Ariel Helwani speaks out about UFC 199 incident

After the events of UFC 199 that saw veteran journalist and MMA personality Ariel Helwani, as well as Casey Leydon and Esther Lin, have their UFC credentials pulled because Helwani broke the news that Brock Lesnar was returning to the Octagon, the Canadian reporter was a guest on several high-profile sports shows Monday giving his side of things.

The day began on The Dan Patrick Show where he addressed the incident that occurred between he and UFC officials, specifically Dana White. Here are the bullet points from the interview that went about 15 minutes or so:

  • Dan Patrick, when leading into the interview, said UFC was reached for comment and refused. Dana just said that Ariel was “too negative”
  • Helwani said that he first reported that Conor-Nate was finalized and was told that he had jumped the gun. A couple hours later, they made the announcement.  He says that he’s batting 1.000 on breaking stories
  • He then reported that Brock was coming back at 5 pm pacific (about 3 hours prior to UFC announcing it during the PPV)
  • He was approached right before the main event and told that Dana White wanted to see him. He first refused to go. Then someone else came and told him that he had to come now. He brought his videographer with him and they went and saw White. Dana told him “get out of here, you’re done. Go cover Bellator or something, you’re done here” “you’re too negative and Lorenzo Fertita is not a fan of yours and he made the call to kick you out of here”. A PR person told Ariel that he should’ve asked UFC for a comment before running with the story
  • Ariel thanked Dana for everything he’d done and hoped he’d reconsider at some point. At that point, he and his co-workers were escorted from the building.
  • He said that Dana was “very upset” and that his face was red. He also speculated that perhaps White didn’t really want to do this. On multiple occasions, he said that this was Lorenzo’s call and that he is finished and will never cover this organization again
  • Patrick asked Helwani about getting dropped from FOX. Ariel said that it’s “100% fact” that he was dropped because UFC told them to.  Over the last few months of his time at FOX, he was criticized for “out-scooping” UFC on stories.
  • He brought up the fact that other journalists have had to go through this but didn’t mention their names
  • Dan Patrick offered to apply for a credential for the next UFC show and then hire Ariel to be his MMA correspondent. Ariel kind of chuckled that one off.  He speculated that UFC would probably deny the request anyway
  • He said that he needs to get the word out about what journalists are having to go through when dealing with UFC.
  • Patrick finished the segment by saying that they reached out to UFC but they never got back to the show producer

He then did similar spots on the Dan LeBetard Show, the Tony Marinaro show on TSN radio in Montreal, and The Rich Eisen Show.

Then, it was time for The MMA Hour where he went for two hours explaining a sordid and confusing relationship with the UFC and Fox that included praise, physical assault, and revelations:

Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez discuss the Brock Lesnar story in a breaking news audio update, available now for subscribers.  Lesnar’s opponent at UFC 200 will be Mark Hunt, as announced today on ESPN Sportscentre. The bout will take place July 9th at the T-Mobile Arena as part of International Fight Week, the same week as this website’s annual convention.