White gifted Kyle Forgeard, of the YouTube group Nelk Boys, $250k for his recent birthday. This prompted a strong reaction from some fighters on social media and alleged White of hypocrisy when it comes to fighter pay.
White has been criticized over the past few years for how fighters are compensated for their efforts. One of the most prominent critics is Helwani, whose relationship with the UFC headman has fallen apart during their respective careers.
Ariel Helwani Reacts To Dana White’s Big Money Gift To Nelk Boys’ Kyle Forgeard
During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani gave his thoughts on White’s controversial gift.
“Obviously, the optics are weird,” Helwani said. “I do believe this man is allowed to do whatever he wants. This man is allowed to pay for whatever he wants. He’s a successful man, he has earned his money. It was not handed to him.
“He fought tooth and nail. Don’t mistake for a second: Dana White has put in the time.” (h/t Heavy)
While Helwani credited White for deserving his financial freedom, he understood why some felt uncomfortable or even upset about the present.
“The optics are just weird,” Helwani said. “First of all, I can assure you this, when I’m 50-something years old, I ain’t going to be hanging out with no frat boys. And I ain’t paying them $250,000 for their birthday.
“Is it wrong if I say that was just creepy?. Is that wrong? Is that too harsh?”
Helwani and White, once cordial and frequent interview pairings, fell off from one another when Helwani broke the news of Brock Lesnar’s return before UFC 200. The UFC and White hoped to be the first to announce the news when they shared a hype video for the event.
Helwani and White are not on speaking terms and Helwani has been left out of numerous events at the request of White. Helwani has also alleged that White attempted to have ESPN withdraw their hiring of him when the UFC signed a broadcast deal with the ‘worldwide leader’.
What was your reaction to Dana White’s gift to Kyle Forgeard?