UFC President Dana White went on a tirade on MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani this week in an appearance on the new “UFC Unfiltered” podcast with Matt Serra and Jim Norton, and his comments continue to show a relative misunderstanding of what journalism entails.
He didn’t stop with his thoughts on Helwani as a media member, either, taking some more personal potshots at Helwani’s post-credential ban episode of The MMA Hour.
“Well [Ariel] got his credential back, I wouldn’t say he’s in decent graces,” White said (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). “[When] we built that promo, 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. You notice I wasn’t out there putting the belt on Dominick Cruz. Then when I ran out to put the belt on Bisping – because I’ve been with Bisping for 10 years, he’s such a great guy – my sleeves are rolled up, I got no jacket on, ‘cuz I’m dealing with the aftermath of the weasel move that he pulled. People can call it journalism or whatever.
“When you’re a real journalist, you reach out, and you say, ‘Hey this is the rumor, this is going on and everything else, and I’m going to run with it.’ That’s what the real journalists do. 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 [Ariel] is not that guy. A lot of people support him, and good for you and all that stuff, but a lot of people have turned on him, too.
“…We can have our differences of opinion on that, but he knows what he did, and he did it on purpose,” White continued. “Then he goes on f***in’ thing and he’s crying and shit. Dude, you’re kids are going to see that for christ sakes. You know what I mean? Give me a f***in’ break… There’s so much more to that thing than was represented. I know he threw a big pity-party for himself and all that shit, but there was a lot more to it. A lot more people were involved in that thing, and it almost blew up a huge relationship that I wouldn’t even get into publicly. That’s why we just came out with a statement. I don’t know. It was dirty, he knows it was dirty, and he threw a big pity-party for himself makes crying noises, crying on camera and shit. It’s just f***ing ridiculous. It is what it is, none of that shit’s gonna change. Ariel Helwani knows. I’ve done a lot of shit for Ariel Helwani. A lot of shit for Ariel Helwani, and it’s just you know, whatever man. It’s all good.”
Penick’s Analysis: The word he’s looking for, rather than “real journalist,” is “PR reps.” Helwani had the story on Lesnar, it was correct, verified via multiple sources, and he ran with it. Comment isn’t necessary, and they’d have denied confirmation – either through “no comment” or flat out lying to him – had he reached out to them. It wasn’t necessary on a story such as the one he broke, and “real journalists” aren’t in a “relationship” with the subjects they’re covering. Now, Helwani didn’t help himself with that MMA Hour afterward, and his past history left him open to criticism because he used to have that relationship with them. There has been a lot of past history of sites sitting on information to appease the UFC or not court their wrath, and Helwani was in that camp until he wasn’t. Still, White’s got a completely fundamental and willful ignorance on the actual role of “real journalists.”
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