The 'Most Powerful' UFC Journalist Lost His Job And No One Knows Why
A mystery involving Ariel Helwani, Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz has emerged in the world of UFC and MMA, and no one has quite figured it out yet.
Helwani, who is seemingly the consensus no. 1 MMA journalist in the country, announced on Wednesday he has "parted ways" with FOX, where he reported on the sport as an insider for both live events and studio coverage.
Just last month, he was referred to as "the most powerful and influential person in MMA media" by Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole. So, because Helwani is so widely regarded, this news is a bit of shock.
And the fact that it happened without explanation? Well, that made it that much more of a bizarre occurrence, especially to a few journalists.
Booooooo https://t.co/UoFUZkepYS — Brian Mazurowski (@BMaz1) March 24, 2016
The news was received with such genuine surprise even Nate Diaz couldn't help but ask "Where's Ariel?" during a Wednesday night appearance on the very show Helwani was dropped from earlier that day.
Retweeted caposa (@GrabakaHitman): Nate asks the UFC Tonight crew where Ariel Helwani is pic.twitter.com/mfDubDwVpi https://t.co/P5OWshwAHQ — Valentino Lau (@ActionFanboy) March 24, 2016
So, the question remains: Why would he part ways with FOX, or vice-versa? In trying to answer this question, it's impossible to ignore a few credible voices within the sport. For some of those voices, the split between Helwani and FOX is considered an insult to journalism.
Fighter Rory MacDonald certainly didn't bite his tongue on the matter.
And Sports Illustrated MMA writer Jeff Wagenheim backed him up.
Former UFC Champion Pat Miletich tweeted support, as well.
The insinuation here is easy to grasp: Helwani is no longer with FOX because the company does business with the UFC and the UFC is not a fan of Helwani's journalism.
As noted by Awful Announcing, and echoed by MMA fans on social media, that journalism includes reporting a Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz rematch for UFC 200 and coverage of MMA athletes' desire for free agency (which would explain why a couple of fighters would be on Helwani's side).
And yet, here we are, with no certain explanation as to why Helwani is gone from FOX's airwaves. We'll have to wait for Monday when Helwani hosts his weekly show, "The MMA Hour."
Still, for the time being, no one knows why MMA's best reporter might've been fired, and that makes this story a hell of a mystery.