Ariel Helwani was as perplexed as most were when top prospect Bo Nickal wasn’t signed to a contract following a win on Dana White‘s Contender Series.
Nickal defeated Zach Borrego in just about a minute of action during the most recent showing of DWCS on Tuesday night. He showed off his stellar ground game and submitted Borrego with a rear-naked choke for just his second professional win.
Despite giving multiple fighters UFC contracts following their wins this week, UFC President Dana White opted to go a different route with Nickal following just his second stint in the cage. Nickal is seen as a once-in-a-generation talent in most MMA circles.
After giving Nickal a developmental contract and one more appearance on DWCS, Helwani felt that White dropped the ball.
Ariel Helwani Weighs In On Bo Nickal’s Surprising Contract Snub
During a recent segment on The MMA Hour, Helwani blasted White and the UFC brass for how they handled Nickal’s performance on DWCS.
“So I was tuning in to the Bo Nickal fight. And I was like, man, this is kayfabe at its finest,” Helwani said of the Nickal/UFC debacle. “So to me, it all felt very disingenuous. Why not come out and promote, right? Promote. Do what you’re supposed to do, sit up at the table, and say… ‘a guy like Bo Nickal comes around one in a lifetime. Did you see what he did to that guy in 61 seconds? Look, this guy is can’t miss. I’m telling you right now, we’ve signed him. Not only have we signed him, we haven’t signed him to your typical deal, like we have signed him’.
“Don’t give me the, ‘Oh, is he good enough? Slow your roll.’ all that nonsense. Come on. It’s very disingenuous and I actually think it’s insulting to the audience. Why play this game? Why the charade? The next guy he fights, he’s going to be a -4000 [favorite], it’s not gonna be a tough test. We’re not going to learn anything about him, why are we doing this? Some people say Bellator should try to get on the phone right now and try to swoop in, and steal him…you don’t think he has a deal with him already?”
Before his win over Borrego, Nickal won his professional MMA debut in a knockout of John Noland at iKON FC 3 in June. He made the full-time transition to MMA following a collegiate wrestling career that resulted in national titles at Penn State.
Nickal will likely make a quick turnaround and fight during one of the remaining weeks of the DWCS season and could be a gigantic betting favorite once again. Another victory will guarantee him a UFC deal, but Helwani feels that this second chance is a pointless one.
Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s take on Bo Nickal?