Dana White has made it very clear that even with a change in ownership, he still garners an extreme amount of power within the UFC. Dana White has always been known to stir the pot, but has recently taken things to another level. He’s gone as far as threatening to clean out the flyweight division, and recently made some incredibly disparaging remarks towards his own Champions Amanda Nunes and Demetrious Johnson during the 213 Post Fight Press Conference. These somewhat incredulous statements have all sort of fallen to the waste side, and have been generally assigned to being part of the persona of Dana White.
However, it now seems that Dana White has gone too far by having mixed martial arts top sports journalist, and analyst Ariel Helwani removed from working alongside Showtime for the May/Mac World Tour. Ariel Helwani who was to be the host of the next two stops of the May/Mac World Tour, will now be delegated to the duties of covering the event as a normal reporter. Helwani has taken the high road, saying that despite the actions of Dana White, he’s still going to enjoy the once in a life time event.
For Ariel Helwani, unfortunately this must be an all too familiar feeling for him, as he was also removed from his position with Fox presumably by the UFC, and not Fox. Dana White also had Ariel Helwani and his colleagues removed from UFC 199, because Ariel had leaked accurate information about Brock Lesnar making a return at UFC 200 prior to the UFC’s announcement. Dana also said that Ariel would no longer be allowed to attend any future UFC events. As we know, days later things changed, but obviously there is still some residual animosity from Dana White as he mentioned to Ariel at the UFC 213 Post Fight Press Conference, that he would not be un-blocking him on social media. While this created a bit of a comedic moment at the time, looking back it almost seems as though perhaps Ariel may have again poked the bear. Bringing up that Dana White blocked Cyborg may have been the straw that broke the camels back in White’s opinion.
Ariel reported via Twitter yesterday that he was relieved of his duties with Showtime. Which of course is a huge let down to Ariel Helwani, but for fans as well. Many fans were looking forward to Ariel being part of such a huge event. After all, he is arguably the best sports journalist in the game, and definitely the best in MMA. How can Dana White be so petty? And why? Why not promote the event as best as you possibly can? Removing Ariel Helwani does the opposite. Taking away the best MMA news journalist, is an absolute atrocity, and misuse of power by Dana White.
Like Fox it seems as though Showtime has submitted to the pressures of the UFC, more assertively Dana White in particular. As much as we should all be enjoying the spectacle, it seems as though there is now a small bit of drama in the shadows of the event. And oddly enough, it has nothing to do with either Mayweather or McGregor. However, nothing is going to over shadow this event, as Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor have already laid down the foundation for what appears to be the sporting event of our lifetime. With just one press conference in the books, they have already alerted the masses in spectacular fashion.
A reported number of over 700,000 people tuned in to see the first time Floyd and Conor would face off. The highly anticipated event is only the beginning of the 4 stop May/Mac World Tour. Today, they make stop number two of the World Tour in Toronto, Canada.