UFC president Dana White hopes that Ariel Helwani has learned a lesson from his shot ban from covering the UFC as rumors are swirling on what Helwani did in scooping everyone nearly ended UFC’s “major relationship” with the WWE.
White appeared in the first podcast entitle “UFC Unfiltered” hosted by former welterweight champion Matt Sera and comedian Jim Norton as transcribed by news.com.au and stated that Helwani was not doing what a journalist would normally do and that is to confirm first what he heard before spreading it. He narrated that they wanted to build the promo about the comeback of Brock Lesnar and added that many people knew about it and kept their silence until the official word came out at UFC 199.
However, White explained that when Helwani broke the news out, the excitement was cut short that they wanted to build around the promotion for UFC 200. He even stated that it was the reason he did not award the belt to Dominick Cruz, who won against Urijah Faber as he was controlling the damage, backstage.
“We built that promo (to reveal Lesnar’s return to UFC 199). A lot of people were quiet about it and a lot of people — it was for the fans. That thing was for the fans for that wow factor to be there and go, ‘Oh wow, Brock’s back!’ And the way that he did it, it had a lot of people pointing fingers at each other. The bottom line is this: it was all about Ariel! Journalism is supposed to be when you’re a guy that covers the sport, it’s about the sport. What we did in that spot and everything was for the fans, and a lot of good people worked hard to pull that thing off and to make that thing happen and to try to keep it a secret, including the WWE, and a lot of things were set in place,” White said.
White added that he has not yet buried the grudges with Helwani and stated that he is not a journalist – just a website guy, who has no respect for people and does not reach out to confirm his stories. He stressed that it would take a long time for their relationship to go back to where it was, before the said incident.
“I’m not really that guy, you know me, man. When you go that way with me, I’m hard to get back. He’s a website guy, you know what I mean? It’s just a totally different world now. There’s still a lot of real journalists out there that before they do something, they reach out and show that respect and have that relationship, whereas he’s not that guy,” White explained.
Meanwhile, White also hinted that they are trying to close down a deal with Russian MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko. He explained that the UFC has viewed the recent fight Fedor Emelianenko had against Fabio Maldonado and criticized the referee of the fight for not stopping the fight when Fedor could not fight back anymore.
“They were going to let him die before they stopped that fight, you know that? But a testament to how tough and durable and mentally strong Fedor is, man. He was out. He was out. Literally, when he got back up … when a guy is on crazy legs the way that he was on crazy legs, and it’s not like he was on crazy legs and able to avoid punches after that. He continued to get hit with bombs by Maldonado and he made it through it. But I’ll tell you this: Those refs were willing to let him die before they stopped that fight, No. 1. And No. 2, Fedor’s got a chin and he’s a tough guy. We’ve been negotiating for many, many, many years. I’ll tell you this: Fight Pass did very well with that fight, so people do still want to watch Fedor,” White said.
With the UFC close to giving Fedor Emelianenko a contract, White noted that they will continue with the media as they are a valuable partner for the UFC, but he insisted that professionalism should still be a practice and that the media should not step on the boundaries that would endanger the life of a sport, such as the UFC.
Photo Courtesy: Justin Moore/Flickr