Banned For Life
This past weekend Ariel Helwani, a journalist who was also fired from Fox earlier this year, was escorted out of the UFC 199 event and told that he was banned for life. Zuffa personel stripped him of his press credentials and sent him on his way. Dana White would then come out and say that Ariel Helwani could attend UFC 200 under one condition, he purchase a ticket.
Ariel Helwani was, in my opinion, kicked out for doing his job. He was given a scoop regarding the return of one of the biggest draws in MMA history, Brock Lesner, and reported on it as any journalist would do.
If the UFC is looking to have people write and report on only what it is they want people to know then they should stop the games and just say no one will be awarded a press credential or at the very least plug the leak that released the information to Helwani to begin with.
This isn’t the first time Ariel Helwani has been punished for reporting on things that the UFC would rather him not report on. Earlier this year he was fired from Fox for ‘promoting free agency’ in an interview with Rory MacDonald. It was said that Dana White didn’t appreciate the interview and said it was ‘the last straw’. In 2014 Helwani had his press credentials seriously limited for other indiscretions that UFC President Dana White did not like.
It is clear to me that Mr. White does not understand the purpose of the Press. It would seem that he does not understand that reporters will report information they have obtained. It’s their job and anyone claiming that what Helwani, who is an award winning journalist to be clear, reported on was somehow protected information doesn’t understand what he was there for.
What Mr. White is getting away with is a travesty and one that could very well end the career of Ariel Helwani.
Some may even rejoice in that fact but let’s face it, he had every right to report on the news as he received it and before other publications could do so. Otherwise he could just as easily reported on the event from the comfort of his own couch.
I will 100% admit that I am wrong if someone can show me a precedent or a reason why I should feel ok about this.
For now it seems to me that the ruination of a man’s career is the responsibility of another man because he didn’t like that his secrets were not well kept and that the reporter did his job, reported on them.