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.
Originally Posted by Lampa
Follow the money.
Originally Posted by Lampa
Do you think Ariel would be willing to come here to discuss, argue, debate, this matter?
Only if Zuffa has final say over the contents of the debate thread.
Originally Posted by Sam Browning
Considering that he was quite unwilling to discuss this in a public forum earlier this evening, and also the fact that I lost my cool and shouted that he was a lying, parrot-shaped, mother fucker after it became abundantly clear that there was no honest debate to be had, my guess is no.*
The funny thing is if Zuffa would just hire him so he could stop pretending to be a journalist he'd be a great press agent and give real journalists a good point of communication.
*I openly admit this was not the best way to go about. I think some people who knew me there were a little shocked given my tendency to be entirely stone-faced at anything and everything.
Would you care to elaborate the affair in a way that occasional readers can understand?
I occasionally listen to Helwani's radio show, and it doesn't seem to me that he is a Zuffa muppet.
Also, why would he be interested in preventing or delaying the legalization of MMA in NY by making false statements?
Zuffa is anti-union and has a current union dispute through their hotel operations. Casting blame for MMA legalization on unions hurts unions. Zuffa wants to weaken unions. Especially unions they may have to work with when MMA is legalized in NY.
Well, I really suggest you read the letter I linked in the OP. Not to give a nicer version of "search function noob," but that was my best summary of the issue when I wrote it and it still is.
Originally Posted by Hiro Protagonist
The long-short of it is that Global Strategy Group, a PR firm hired by Zuffa, screwed the pooch royally in the process of getting MMA sanctioned in New York. They saw an opportunity to turn the union group that Zuffa was already hopping mad at into a scape goat for their own failures.
Whether the UFC was complicit in this gross distortion of the truth because they wanted to generate bad PR for the sworn enemies of the Ferrtitas in Nevada or if they simply went along with it because it was an easy lie to believe is both immaterial and impossible to know.
What is known is that they are now too proud and too pot committed to go off message, even if that message may ultimately be damaging their own efforts in New York.
As for Helwani, he's always taken his marching orders from the UFC. The infamous memo that started this whole thing written by Josh Gold, who is part of a different union organization and not authorized to speak to Unite Here, was first printed by Helwani. Also worthy to note that Gold later admitted that it was an excuse to take a pot shot at Zuffa and was intentionally placed where it would have no effect on the legislative process because they don't want to block MMA in New York.
Helwani was not in New York at the time, but in Vegas for the UFC summit that discussed changes in fighter relations policy. Helwani's print also had the memo header stricken from it because it indicated the letter was not directly from Unite Here. His contact for getting this memo was clearly someone working for GSG or Zuffa press relations.
This is just one of many, many career examples of him towing the company line.
Okay, thank you, guys.
I take your word for it. Interesting, though.
Is the idea behind this to hinder the creation of a fighter's union?
I take the MLB and the NBA have it, but neither boxing, wrestling nor MMA.
No. Definitely not. He would not want to mess up his Zuffa Christmas Bonus.
Originally Posted by Sam Browning
My prediction, he will soon be leaving MMAFighting and will be working directly for the UFC. At least then we won't have to pretend who his bosses are.
One of the best Bullshido investigations ever written: http://www.bullshido.org/David_Kujawski_Investigation
"disgruntled ex student who couldn't hack training with Dave and his material and opted out (could be called pussied out) of training to go to Sambo"
- Mor Sao
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