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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Ariel Helwani kicked out of UFC event, banned over reporting Brock Lesnar news

Ariel Helwani

The UFC’s habit of bullying reporters and controlling the news took a new twist on Saturday night when MMA reporter Ariel Helwani says he was kicked out of UFC 199 and banned for life.

Helwani tweeted the news of his removal from the show in Inglewood, Calif. at a little after 10 p.m. PT Saturday night just before the main event at UFC 199. The veteran MMA reporter had broken news hours earlier that the UFC was close to a deal with Brock Lesnar to fight at UFC 200. He beat the UFC on the news, as the organization made it public when they included Lesnar in their UFC 200 promo they aired later in the evening. He also tweeted about potential opponents for Lesnar, which may be a sensitive topic because the organization reportedly is not planning to release until Monday.

Here’s what Helwani tweeted about being removed and having his credential taken away:

The UFC has a long, concerning history of banning/kicking out reporters who report things they do not like. If you write negatively about Dana White or his personal life or talk about scandals within the organization, they will ban you. They rule with an iron fist, so to speak.

A UFC spokesperson confirmed that the organization took issue with Helwani’s reporting.

“I’m not saying you don’t have a job to report, but in this case [with Helwani], the professional standards are to reach out [to the UFC] for comment on a story you’re about to report, even if you get a no-comment,” Sholler said.

Helwani was fired by FOX in March supposedly again because the UFC was unhappy/uncomfortable with some of his reporting, such as encouraging fighters to explore free agency.

Helwani is not in their pocket nor should he be; he’s a reporter with a job to report. The UFC needs to become more professional and stop essentially violating the first amendment by silencing/punishing anyone who does not act like a perfect cheerleader for them.



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