Dana White told banned reporter Ariel Helwani ‘you’re too negative’
Ariel Helwani’s biggest crime was being too good of a reporter, it seems.
Hours after breaking major UFC news Saturday night, MMAFighting.com’s Helwani said on Twitter that he was escorted out of the UFC 199 event in Inglewood, Calif. and told he was banned for life by the organization (you can read the tweets here). The move was done by the UFC apparently out of frustration over Helwani breaking news of big stories, spoiling the UFC’s planned announcements.
Helwani broke news of the Conor McGregor-Nate Diaz rematch being set, and more importantly, he reported that Brock Lesnar was close to a return to the UFC — an absolute bombshell of a story. UFC boss Dana White was ticked off about Helwani’s reporting and let the veteran reporter have it.
“I was brought to the back by UFC [public relations] and told by Dana White that I had to leave the arena,” Helwani told Yahoo Sports. “Dana mentioned that from what I recalled that Brock Lesnar was upset the news was released early and that this could have ruined their deal.
“He repeatedly said, ‘Go cover Bellator. We don’t want you here.’ … I said, ‘What did I do wrong?’ He said, ‘You’re too negative.’”
Helwani also told Yahoo that he had at least two sources on both stories. He says the UFC suspects he has a “mole” inside the company feeding him information, which has them angered.
The UFC has long been criticized for being so strict and controlling with some of its policies. If they do not like something a reporter writes or says, they will revoke his/her credentials. It’s a petty and short-sighted response that will only anger fans and turn them off from the company.
Worst of all, banning Helwani and trying to intimidate reporters will not solve the problem for the UFC; Helwani will still be able to report news and break stories without having credentials. Heck, this whole incident may drive him to work even harder to break news/continue spoiling UFC announcements, which would end up backfiring on them.