Helwani, who’s widely considered one of the leading media voices in mixed martial arts having covered the sport for well over a decade, has become a somewhat polarizing figure. While many appreciate his coverage and interviews with fighters, he’s had his fair share of fallouts.
Notably, that’s included a fractured relationship with White, whose feelings on Helwani have long been public knowledge. Now, the UFC chief has come together to share his disdain for the 40-year-old journalist with one of the most notable fighters on his roster.
Ahead of UFC 282 this weekend, White made an appearance on the Chattin Pony podcast, hosted by Pimblett, one half of Saturday’s pay-per-view co-main event.
At one point in the interaction, talk turned to the media presence in MMA, with “The Baddy” making his view on Helwani clear. While Pimblett has made appearances on the Canadian’s show before, most recently following his UFC debut victory in 2021, his take on Helwani has appeared to firmly change.
With White present, Pimblett labeled Helwani a “rodent” and “maggot” who uses fighters to line his own pockets. The Liverpudlian also appeared to suggest that the reporter should be paying fighters for appearances on The MMA Hour and other interviews.
“I hate all these journalists, especially the ones what earn off us. Ariel Helwani, in particular, loves earning money off fighters. Every decent job he’s had, he’s been sacked from. And now he’s just a bias content creator,” Pimblett said, with the agreement of White. “He hates on you, hates on the UFC, and he even hates on me now. It proper annoys me.
“He uses fighters for clicks, uses fighters to make money, and then has the audacity to talk about the UFC and yourself, saying that they don’t pay the fighters enough. Get your dough out Ariel,” Pimblett continued.
“Start paying people for these interviews that you make thousands, and thousands, and thousands (from)… You’re doing it to put money in your pocket Ariel, you little rodent… He’s a maggot.”
Pimblett went on to provide some context around his new opinion on Helwani, recalling a time when he turned down the opportunity to have an interview with him for BT Sport, instead favoring one on the same day that brought with it payment. Helwani later went on to publicly fall out with the former Cage Warriors champion’s manager, Graham Boylan.
On the topic of paying fighters for interviews, a number of pundits and media members have already come out against the practice, citing the ethical issues that could crop up from having athletes’ answers arrive as the result of cash motivation.
White Applauds Pimblett’s Rant on Helwani
While Pimblett’s comments have faced backlash from some online, one man who had no doubt that he was correct with his assessment of Helwani was the UFC president, who was consistent in agreeing with his fighter’s take during the podcast.
White also made sure to get his own jabs at the Canadian reporter in. As well as a few insults, the 53-year-old also suggested that Helwani has “disappeared” since his working relationship with the UFC’s broadcaster, ESPN, came to an end.
“I just sat back and let that go, I didn’t want to interrupt,” White said whilst clapping. “He’s a massive [expletive] sack of [expletive] is what he is. He’s the biggest [expletive] piece of [expletive] of all time. I couldn’t have said it better.
“You know what the great thing is about him? He’s completely [expletive] disappeared. Since ESPN let him go… nothing even pops up. I hear nothing about him, I see nothing about him,” White added. “I literally don’t even know that guy exists unless somebody brings him up to me. You’re absolutely right, he’s a piece of [expletive].”
While Helwani and White have a long history of back and forth, dating back to when the MMA journalist broke the news of Brock Lesnar’s UFC return, the addition of Pimblett to the club of Helwani haters appears to be fresh.
What do you make of Paddy Pimblett and Dana White’s insult-laden attack on Ariel Helwani?
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