UFC Lifts Lifetime Bans On MMA Reporter Ariel Helwani

After serious public pressure — so much, in fact, that it practically overshadowed a great fight card in UFC 199 — UFC has lifted the lifetime ban on MMA reporter Ariel Helwani. The reporter had his credentials pulled for leaking the news that Brock Lesnar would be returning to fight at UFC 200, along with fellow SB Nation colleagues Casey Leydon and Esther Lin. It was a petty move that had sports personalities such as Rich Eisen speaking out against UFC. The general message? Don’t expect to be respected as a real sports league if you’re going to refuse to be covered like one.

Ultimately, it was a message UFC got, loud and clear. The public backlash left UFC with little choice, as their public statement revealed:

“Following a conversation with the editorial team at SB Nation, UFC will not prevent 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.”

UFC Lifts Lifetime Bans On MMA Reporter Ariel Helwani

Screengrab (Credit: MMAFightingOnSB)

For his part, Helwani offered a statement on Twitter about the ban being lifted:

It’s good to see that cooler heads prevailed, and that Helwani has his credentials back. It would have done far more harm than good for UFC to have kicked out a six-time MMA Reporter of the Year. They need the hype his coverage provides, and they definitely needed to get rid of the public black eye this incident caused.

But what do you think about Ariel Helwani regaining his UFC credentials? Sound off in the comments!

And for more MMA news, find out the official salaries for UFC 199!

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