MMA journalist Ariel Helwani and the UFC have had quite the rocky relationship over the years and it has seemingly bled over into the world of boxing. The host of the popular mixed martial arts show “The MMA Hour” took to Twitter to announce that he has been banned from covering the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor news tour for Showtime Sports, which started in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon, allegedly at the behest of the UFC.
Took red eye from NY to LA only to get this news moments ago. Still credentialed for the tour and will also be in Toronto and NY. All good.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 11, 2017
This isn’t the first time that Helwani has found himself banned by the UFC. Last year at UFC 199, Helwani and two of his colleagues were banned for life after Helwani broke the news that Brock Lesnar would be making his return at UFC 200. The announcement rubbed the UFC the wrong way and it revoked the journalists’ credentials before kicking them out of the arena. But after some public outcry, the ban was lifted and Helwani returned to his duty of attending UFC events.
Things appeared to be fine between Helwani and the UFC over the past few months. At the post-fight press conference for UFC 213 in Las Vegas over the weekend, Helwani and UFC president Dana White seemingly had a kindhearted exchange regarding why White had blocked Helwani on Instagram after White fielded questions from the MMA Fighting representative. But come Tuesday morning, Helwani found that nothing much has changed. He was scheduled to be part of the Showtime coverage crew that consisted of boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi, former UFC fighter Brendan Schaub and sports announcer Mauro Ranallo.
Although he is still credentialed, it appears that the UFC will have a say on to what extent Helwani will be able to cover the event.