UFC is getting a load of negative press about this. Totally overshadowing the Brock announcement ironically enough.
Apparently Dana had a Vince style hissy fit because Ariel broke a few stories before UFC was able to. Really makes the UFC look like a bush league bunch of goons IMO. Was actually considering buying UFC 200, but don't want to support a promotion that stifles journalism.
UFC has been beefing with Helwani for some time, even possibly being involved with the decision by Fox to let him go. Whole thing is kind of silly but UFC acted in a similar fashion with "Stitch".
Though apparently the Lesnar deal wasn't done and the UFC was upset that announcing the deal prematurely (Ariel did so Friday) could have stalled negotiations.
To counter that though they had to be about 99.9% sure it was going to happen because they had already shot Lesnar's portion of the promo (obviously the audio is old but the video is not); so I don't see what it leaking early was going to affect. Sadly because it was Helwani whom again they have a history with, I don't see the ban being lifted.
Ariel's Monday podcast the MMA Hour, I'll edit in some bullet points as I watch/listen
-Implies that the decision to have him banned came from Lorenzo (Fertitta) and Dana (White) was simply the messenger.
-Also says that per the conversation with Dana at UFC 199, Lorenzo is the one that wanted him gone from Fox.
-A production company in December 2010 wanted to do a MMA show with Ariel. One of the networks that it was being pitched to was Fuel TV. He asked Dana's opinion and was told that it wasn't a good move and with the UFC's current TV deal expiring in 2011, bigger opportunities were coming.
-Ultimately he turned down the offer due to Dana's advice and the UFC went on to sign a deal with Fox within a year. The deal with Fox would put UFC content on Fuel TV.
-August of 2011 he met with officials from Fox and signed a deal in December to appear on UFC Tonight. Was also contracted to be a backstage interviewer for the Pre and Post Fight shows.
-The catch to the Pre and Post fight shows is that even though they are Fox shows, Zuffa pays the talent. Fox pays Zuffa out of a budget and then Zuffa staffs the show and pays them. Obviously this can be seen as a conflict of interest as a reporter to report on an entity when the entity is paying you.
-Has been offered a job with multiple promotions (Bellator, World Series of Fighting, ONE FC, Titan FC, etc.) but didn't want to work for an organization, would rather be a journalist.
-In January of 2012 he receives an offer to work for Fox Sports' website. After thinking about it he declines since he has his own website and internet show.
-In May of 2012 he is told he is being pulled from the UFC Tonight as well as the Pre and Post fight shows because he wasn't "all in"
-Discussed with Dana and said he only turned down the website offer due to him being loyal and to please reconsider. He did and he was added back to the tv shows.
-September 2012, he was ripped into by a producer for being "selfish" and a "diva" for asking about being able to interview the main event talent at future events. Around that time there were once again rumblings about him being removed from television.
-In 2013 he had news that Dominick Cruz was going to face Renan Barao but the scoop was given to someone else while he was trying to confirm it. He talked to Dana about it and how he lost the scoop because he wanted to confirm it with the UFC rather than just using his sources. Dana told him "why? You had it, just go for it. Look, an insider isn't going to be liked. You are reporting things before us, but if you got it, go with it." Reminded Dana of that conversation at UFC 199.
-January 2014, Bellator was having a media day 10 minutes from his house. He had never been to a Bellator event in person before but was asked by his website MMAFighting if he could cover it. A couple of days later he realized he was blocked by numerous UFC social media websites. He was also removed from television and never given a reason. Only thing he could think of was because he covered Bellator. Was eventually confirmed by Dana that him going to Bellator was the prime issue and that they weren't "on the same page." Ariel requested a meeting with Dana and they worked out the issues with him being blocked. A couple of days later Dana calls him and says he is back on Fox and "let's just pretend this never happened."
-Returned to Fox in April but was disappointed that nobody from the Fox team stuck up for him or even called him.
-Around this time something else happened though he isn't comfortable talking about it. All he would say is that it got physical.
-April 2015 when Rampage came back to the UFC he was upset with Ariel and refused to speak to him so the interview was given to somebody else. Again he felt as if somebody from the Fox team should have stuck up for him. Eventually worked things out with Rampage
-In October of 2015 he had Travis Browne on his show to discuss the domestic abuse allegations from his now ex-wife. He also asked off the air if it was okay for him to bring up the rumors that he was dating Ronda Rousey. Travis was fine with it but had to check with Ronda and get back with him. He did and said everything was fine. Using the interview as the source TMZ breaks the news about Browne and Rousey dating.
-The next month Ariel is told that Ronda is mad at Ariel's website and him and will not be talking to either ahead of her bout with Holly Holm. Originally Ariel had a sitdown for MMAFighting scheduled with Rousey ahead of the fight. Just prior to the trip he is also told he won't be able to talk to her for Fox either.
-December 2015 while Ariel is on vacation MMAFighting runs a story saying that UFC 196 will not take place in Brazil due to the economic situation that was going on there. Ariel retweeted the story and was told by Dana White he was "full of shit" and guilty of "click baiting." Also Dana said they should have reached out, which Ariel admits that staff should have done.
-Saw Dana a short while later and Ariel didn't feel there were any hard feelings
-January 2016 Ariel got word that Dos Anjos was scheduled to fight Conor McGregor. Was told to sit on the news because the UFC had a plan in place to announce it.
-Ariel had talked to UFC fighters on his show about Free Agency, most notably Rory Macdonald who will go into his fight this month with Stephen Thompson on the last fight of his contract before testing the market. Ariel was told that the UFC was unhappy with that interview as well as the constant talk of Free Agency.
-A week or so later Ariel breaks the news that the UFC 200 main event will be Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor II. Three days later he is informed by his agent that he has been fired from the UFC Pre fight, Post Fight, and Weigh in shows. No reason given other than the UFC no longer wanted him there. He would however remain on UFC Tonight.
-A couple hours later an official from Fox called and said he was done from UFC Tonight as well.
-Started getting word that the UFC believed there was a "mole" in the company feeding Ariel news. UFC told people that Ariel had told the UFC that a "mole" was feeding him information in order to try and get people to confess.
-Again denies there being any mole in the UFC.
-Did an interview with Nate Diaz that Dana wasn't pleased with. Sent him a text saying "some not so nice things."
-Had been asked numerous times if he was worried about having his credentials taken after being removed from Fox. Even asked the UFC specifically if he was in danger of losing his press credentials and was told that it wasn't something being discussed.
Not sure if it's true but Brett Okamoto for ESPN is reporting that Helwani has been reinstated.
EDIT: Yep it's true
"Following a conversation with the editorial team at SB Nation, UFC will not prevent MMAFighting.com from receiving media credentials to cover live UFC events. We respect the role the media plays in our sport and beyond, including MMAFighting's ability to report news. However, in our opinion, we believe the recurring tactics used by its lead reporter extended beyond the purpose of journalism. We feel confident our position has now been adequately communicated to the SB Nation editorial team. UFC's goal as the world's leading mixed martial arts promotion is to cultivate interest in its world-class athletes and events, and deliver for the fans. We will continue to introduce this sport and its athletes to new fans across the world, and we will do so by working alongside media across all platforms."
This is such a classic Vince McMahon moment here for Dana White/the Fertittas.
Every now and then both of them forget that they can't operate the same way they did when their companies were at a smaller level--for WWE from going from a national wrestling/entertainment brand to an internationally traded company, and for UFC going from a fringe sport to something that now gets routine coverage on ESPN and other major sports outlets.
Can't have your cake and eat it too when it comes to promoting yourself as a true above boards international sports company in the same line as the NBA, MLB etc and still having these little Napoleonic outbursts when something doesn't go your way. If Roger Goodell can't get away with it, then Dana White sure as hell ain't gonna get away with it either.