MMAfighting.com’s Ariel Helwani is one of the most respected MMA journalists in the game today. Yesterday, when the Brock Lesnar news broke I was confident that it was real because he was the one reporting it.
Unfortunately for Helwani, the UFC still thinks that they can ban journalists from their events for doing their jobs and get away with it because that’s what they did last night.
Before last night’s main event between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, Helwani and several of his MMAfighting.com colleagues were escorted out of the building and told they were banned for life from covering UFC events.
Dana White chose to skip the press conference after the fight and has not addressed the issue publicly so far.
It is worth noting that this is not the first time the UFC has banned journalists from covering their events for petty reasons. Back in 2007, White went on a banning spree and banned respected MMA journalists Josh Gross and Loretta Hunt from covering their live events for being critical of the companies pay policies.
I’m not sure that the UFC will be able to stick with their ban of Helwani considering his enormous popularity not only with the MMA fanbase but with other journalists currently covering the UFC. It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out and hopefully White realizes his mistake.