MMA Reporter Ariel Helwani Banned for Life from UFC Over Brock Lesnar Leak

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, who is considered the most prolific voice in mixed martial arts journalism, has been banned for life from all UFC events. It's assumed this has to do with Helwani leaking news that Brock Lesnar, who is currently under contract to WWE, was close to finalizing a deal for a fight on UFC 200. The news was confirmed when UFC released a promo for Lesnar's return, but it doesn't change the fact that Helwani scooped them first. And, well, it appears that Dana White and the Fertittas were sick of being scooped.

To make matters worse, UFC went after Helwani's colleagues as well by also banning Casey Leydon and Esther Lin, the latter considered to be the best photographer in MMA, and one of the best photo journalists in all of professional sports right now. Instead of going after the source of the leaks, UFC opted to go after three journalists who, in essence, were just doing their job. And while Helwani can continue reporting on UFC even without live press credentials, this banning will likely cut into Lin's bottom line significantly, which makes this even more infuriating. If anything, UFC is cutting off its nose to spite its face, since Helwani's reportage often served to hype up the audience for fights and pay-per-views even more. Sure, if Helwani was leaking sensitive documents or something of that matter, it'd be understandable. But this? It's simply one of the dumbest things White and the Fertittas could have done, and it's not going to do anything to prevent Helwani from continuing to report on UFC. If anything, disgruntled fighters are even more likely to seek him out now.

MMA Reporter Ariel Helwani Banned for Life from UFC Over Brock Lesnar Leak
Screencap (Credit: Fightland)

For his part, Helwani seemed genuinely hurt by his banning:

What makes this even more petty is that Helwani and his crew were kicked out midway through last night's UFC 199, denying the reporter the chance to cover Michael Bisping knocking out Luke Rockhold in the first round of the main event fight. Wouldn't it behoove UFC to have a mainstream MMA reporter covering their event?

I have to believe we don't have the full story here, and that there's some other side to all this. Because it's hard to imagine any company being this petulant over a reporter who, through his detailed coverage and first-rate scoops, is actually helping their business.

What do you think of all this? Sound off in the comments!

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