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MMA journalist Ariel Helwani escorted out of UFC 199, UFC declines to comment

Prominent MMA journalist Ariel Helwani of was escorted out of UFC 199 along with photographer Esther Lin and video director E. Casey Leydon prior to the main event between Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold.

According to Helwani, who took to Twitter to explain the situation, his media credentials were also taken, along with Lin and Leydon’s. The rumoured reason for the removal was apparently because Helwani broke the Brock Lesnar UFC 200, and the Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2 UFC 202 stories, much to the UFC’s chagrin.

The move is another development since Helwani was fired in March  from the FOX Sports show UFC Tonight, for undisclosed reasons by FOX and the UFC.

Update: The UFC has restored Helwani’s media credentials and lifted the lifetime ban for him and his colleagues.


Helwani, Lin and Leydon posted the following on Twitter:

Dave Sholler, UFC vice-president of public relations, athlete marketing and development was questioned about the incident and declined to “delve into the details out of respect for the parties involved.”

But he did provide a few details to the Los Angeles Times and USA Today Sports after the press conference, saying the Brock story being the reason for Helwani’s credential reveal  and removal was “wholly inaccurate.”

“I’m not saying you don’t have a job to report, but in this case [with Helwani], the professional standards are to reach out [to the UFC] for comment on a story you’re about to report, even if you get a no-comment,” Sholler said to the Times.

The incident did not go unnoticed by fans and colleagues.

UFC president Dana White was not at the post-fight media conference to answer questions.

A petition has been created to restore Helwani’s credentials and lift his lifetime ban from covering UFC events.


Kenai is a former Postmedia Network online news and sports editor. He is the Editor-in-Chief for MMA Crossfire.

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