Sean Strickland & Ariel Helwani Spar Over The Reporter’s ‘Love’ For MMA

UFC middleweight contender Sean Strickland and Ariel Helwani recently went back and forth surrounding the reporter’s level of MMA ‘fandom’.

For years, Helwani has maintained his presence as one of the most prominent and respected media members in the combat sports industry. The Canadian journalist, who graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in 2004, has covered the sport since his days as student, and has since worked under the banners of notable publications like ESPN, MMA Fighting, FOX, and BT Sport.

The 40-year-old is widely credited for helping kickstart the increasing media coverage of the sport, having done so during MMA and the UFC’s darker days prior to it receiving mainstream attention.

Helwani’s work has been consistently reflected at the annual Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards, where he’s collected the MMA Journalist of the Year award every year since 2010.

Ariel Helwani
Image Credit: David Becker/WireImage

With that said, there’s little doubt over the job that Helwani has done as a mixed martial arts reporter. But according to one UFC fighter, that’s exactly what it is — a job.

During a recent lighthearted interview on The MMA Hour, #7-ranked UFC middleweight Sean Strickland told Helwani that while he likes him, he doesn’t believe the Canadian would be watching MMA were it not his employment.

“I don’t know how you got this job, bro. You should be like, a golf commentator or a golf analyst,” Strickland said. “How did you get this job? I wanna know how you get in the MMA world. Like, you get done college and you’re like, ‘You know what, man? There’s a lot of stupid motherf*ckers, I think I could get in this world.’

“Like, how did you go into MMA? Because I don’t think you’re a big MMA fan… I’m saying, if this wasn’t your job, bro, I don’t think you’d be at the bar, with the boys, watching motherf*ckers get knocked out,” Strickland added.

Helwani Shuts Down Strickland Assumption

Suffice to say, Helwani wasn’t exactly pleased with that assessment…

The renowned reported hit back with vehement denial, noting his history in the sport and his days covering it prior to MMA’s boom down the line, and prior to Strickland’s involvement.

“Now we’re going there? I’ve done three shows, I’ve put out 14 hours of content this week, in the last 13 days, talking exclusively about MMA. You think I fake that?” Helwani replied. “Bro, I was at the bar watching MMA when you were in your father’s nutsack. When you didn’t even know what the f*ck MMA was, dude, I was talking about MMA. I was doing a radio show at Syracuse University in 2001… How old were you in 2001? You were in f*cking fourth grade when I was talking about MMA, when I was hosting an MMA show, when it wasn’t even f*cking cool.

“When you were probably going out there, taking two bottles of Modelos and smashing them together, causing trouble, I was campaigning and fighting for this sport to be covered by people, when you didn’t even f*cking know what MMA stood for. Do your research. Do your f*cking research, man,” Helwani continued. “I was on the front f*cking lines of this sport, creating jobs, interviewing fighters, going to bullsh*t events, when you were out in the parking lot doing wheelies and donuts, alright?”

Not many can play the outspoken and brash Strickland at his own game. But perhaps “Tarzan” met his match in “Heelwani.”

Whose side are you on, Ariel Helwani’s or Sean Strickland’s?

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