Why Does Dana White Hate Ariel Helwani? | Easily Explained
It's no secret that Dana White and Ariel Helwani have publicly had their differences over the years.
But why does Dana White hate Ariel Helwani? In this page, we will explain how it started, what events have happened over the years, and their relationship now.
Table of Contents
- Why Does Dana White Hate Ariel Helwani?
- Helwani Leaks UFC 200 News
- Helwani Instigates Fighters
- Are They Friends Now?
Why Does Dana White Hate Ariel Helwani?
Helwani was the first person to consistently cover Mixed Martial arts events, as well as interview MMA fighters. He began as an awkward introvert, then developed confidence and began asking 'tough' questions, but would also instigate fighters along the way. Over a period of 10+ years, White and Helwani's relationship would sour.
As far as the tough questions covered, Helwani would bring up UFC fighter pay, athletes leaving the UFC to other organizations, and even potential unions in the UFC.
Friendly Terms in the Beginning
Believe it or not, White and Helwani used to be extremely friendly to one another and would have various interviews.
They would have interviews regarding different topics, and they'd even joke with one another.
You can see the video below, where at one point Dana would even compliment Helwani saying "This guy has turned out to be one of the best interviewers in MMA" during an interview with Helwani.
Helwani would even praise Dana White for giving him access, after Helwani's Fox tenure ended early.
There were many bumps along the way that we cover below, but the main event that changed the dynamic of the relationship was regarding UFC 200.
At UFC 199, the UFC had a major announcement to make during the event, that Brock Lesnar would be making his return to the octagon.
However, Helwani would catch wind of it and leak it early, and the UFC would briefly ban him for life from all events.
Helwani Leaks UFC 200 News
At UFC 199, Helwani would leak that Brock Lesnar would be coming back to the octagon to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 200.
In order to understand why this was such a big deal, you need to understand what the UFC was doing at the time.
UFC 200 Fight Poster on Thursday vs UFC 200 Fight Poster on Friday pic.twitter.com/8dkjmR9JUu— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 9, 2016
UFC Looks For Big Names
The UFC was trying to put every possible big name fighter for the UFC 200 card, attempting to put Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2, and a few others.
Ultimately they ended up with booking Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier 2 while working the Lesnar deal.
Additionally, the UFC had put a lot of effort into making a trailer that would be the announcement.
How the Leak Affected the UFC
Due to Brock Lesnar being under contract with the WWE at the time, the UFC needed WWE's permission, as well as navigating the different challenges that come with cross-promotional bouts.
The UFC, WWE and everyone else involved wanted to keep this news quiet until the announcement at the UFC event.
However, when the leak occurred Dana White would say that it could have cancelled the deal altogether, and the people involved in the deal would begin to point fingers at each other as to who leaked the news.
Ultimately Lesnar would still compete against Hunt.
Helwani Banned From the UFC
Helwani who was in attendance at UFC 199, would then be escorted from his seat to meet with White who would tell him that he was banned from UFC events, and that his credentials would be revoked.
Ariel Helwani would then go on his show, the MMA hour and cry on air regarding this decision.
The ban would not last long, as the UFC would reinstate Helwani's credentials shortly after.
Happy to report the UFC has lifted the ban on me and my colleagues. Cooler heads indeed prevailed. Now back to normal. Thank you again.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) June 7, 2016
Helwani Instigates Fighters
As great of a journalist as Helwani was, something that rubbed fighters and Dana White the wrong way was the way that he would instigate.
Below you can find an 8 minute video on Helwani doing this over the years.
Helwani's ESPN Tenure
On the Dan Le Batard show, Le Batard would ask Helwani if "Dana White ran him out of town".
Helwani would explain that he wasn't able to give a yes or no answer, but then provided specific details about how White made Helwani's tenure at ESPN more difficult.
Helwani and White Weren't Allowed Near Each Other
Helwani would say:
When I would be at events, and let's say it's the (UFC) weigh-ins right, and there's a desk there and I'm doing something beforehand, but Dana White is coming as a guest in 30 minutes or something..
I would have to be escorted out of the venue because per his request I couldn't be in his vicinity or line of sight.
So here I am on the set of a company that I work for, and security who were the nicest people ever, would have to tell me "I'm sorry Ariel, we have to walk you out".
You can see Helwani's full answer in the video below.
Are They Friends Now?
Dana White and Ariel Helwani are not friends now. Although they interact less than ever, they maintain their distance away from each other.
At one point the pair used to have cordial arguments, regarding which fighters were the best in the world.
However, as the relationship soured over the years, you can see White's growing distaste for Helwani below.