Ariel Helwani Criticizes How UFC Broke Leon Edwards/Kamaru Usman 3 News

MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was less than impressed with how the UFC announced the upcoming trilogy fight between welterweight titleholder Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman.

The post-fight press conference at this month’s UFC Vegas 67 event certainly wasn’t short on major announcements. Most notably, it saw confirmation that Francis Ngannou has been stripped of the heavyweight title and departed the promotion.

With that, Dana White asserted that returning former two-time light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will challenge for the vacant belt opposite #1-ranked contender Ciryl Gane at UFC 285 on March 4.

While that news featured in most headlines, some major matchmaking for the UFC 286 pay-per-view in London, England, appeared to get lost in the shuffle.

During the interaction with the media, White noted that Edwards and Usman will collide for a third time in the March 18 headliner inside The O2 arena. While the matchup appeared to be the leading option following the Brit’s crowning last August, reports of a hand injury for “The Nigerian Nightmare” had thrown up some doubt about his ability to make the date.

White also confirmed that lightweight contenders Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev will meet in the UFC 286 co-main event, a booking that was reported earlier in the night by ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto.

For Helwani, though, the way in which the promotion announced its two top matchups for the first England-held pay-per-view since 2016 was unceremonious.

Helwani On Edwards/Usman 3 Announcement: “That’s It?”

During a recent episode of The MMA Hour, host Helwani reacted to a press conference that was full of notable announcements and revelations.

The Canadian journalist criticized the UFC for how it confirmed the main and co-main events for UFC 286, questioning why he received backlash for breaking news of Brock Lesnar’s return at UFC 200 if this is how the promotion announces major bouts.

“I kind of chuckled a little bit. People love to say… ‘Oh man, you really screwed the UFC with that Brock Lesnar announcement.’ … Meanwhile, these massive fights like Leon and Kamaru 3, huge UK pay-per-view… first time since 2016, just gets announced in a throwaway comment at a press conference,” Helwani said. “Like, come on. The argument that they have these big plans all the time, like, ‘You’re really screwing their plans.’

“A throwaway comment. Kamaru Usman versus Leon Edwards 3, one of the biggest fights of the year, just gets thrown away like that. ‘Oh, and by the way, forgot to mention, that fight’s happening. Oh, and by the way, Fiziev versus Gaethje too.'” Helwani added. “Like, nothing? That’s it? That was the big announcement?”

The series between Edwards and Usman currently sits level at 1-1. While “The Nigerian Nightmare” secured a decision victory during the early days of their UFC careers in 2015, “Rocky” exacted his revenge last year, taking the welterweight title from Usman by way of a brutal fifth-round head-kick knockout.

Do you agree with Ariel Helwani’s take on how the UFC announced Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3?

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