Ariel Helwani is a liar and a coward
So, tonight I was at NYU for the New York premiere of the documentary Fightville, which was actually fantastic in its own right and I will be publishing a positive review in the next couple of days.
But, I will admit, I had more interest it what was scheduled to happen after the movie: a panel discussion on the sanctioning of MMA in New York featuring Ariel Helwani.
Now, Ariel is the single most visible perpetrator of a piece of fiction posted as MMA news, which blames union activity for the lack of MMA sanctioning in New York.
As some of you already know, I've been running journalistic point on the sanctioning process since January 2009 and am probably the most well versed person around on this one very specific topic. And the whole "blame the unions" thing just did not jive with any of my extensive research.
I've contacted Helwani both privately and publicly about this to share my evidence to the contrary. Then, finally, I published an open letter to Dana White the summarized all of my findings that I can prove along with my reasoning for why blaming the unions hurts the cause. This letter can be found here-
I know for a fact that Helwani has not only read my messages to him but the contents of that article. So, what does he do tonight?
He blames the unions. Everything that I can and have proven to him as false he just regurgitated because he doesn't want to make waves with his masters.
Then things got worse. He proceeded to, in front of several members in the Coalition to Legalize MMA in New York, tell the crowd that the fans can't do anything to impact the political situation, actively discouraging any effort to get MMA sanctioned in New York that is not headed by a Zuffa initiative.
Then, miraculously, everyone present in the press core who was in a position to take Helwani to task was passed over when it came time for audience response. I know for a fact that Ariel had a say over the contents of the panel and strongly suspect that they were given instructions not to let the press ask questions.
So, he continues a fiction he knows is false that harms all people in the local MMA business. Then he spits in the face of the efforts fans have put in to do something. And then he makes sure he doesn't have to answer for any of it, so he could go into the hall and sign a fucking autograph.
Normally I would just let this all slide, put pen to paper, and find a way to combat the fiction next time. I have always given Helwani a pass on this blatant disregard for the truth and harm of his fellow New Yorkers in the MMA scene because he is a great interview artist with access which allows good information to go out to the public.
But this is too fucking far. In my life there was only one other time I have been so close to assaulting someone, and that other story ends with "fortunately, no charges were filed."
He willfully insults the pursuit of the truth that journalism is supposed to be about. He willfully harms the local athletes that, in spite of my efforts to stay neutral, I really do care about them succeeding. And he doesn't even have the sack to stand up for his lies.
I felt like I was watching him smack my mother on stage. That's what it felt like hearing him harm the local sport, a strike at my family. And, quite frankly, I don't know what I'm going to do about it yet. The only weapon I have is the truth and that's one that requires very close range and careful aim. But I wasn't getting to sleep tonight until I said something.