Ariel Helwani is taking a shot at Dana White for forgetting Islam Makhachev’s name.
UFC president Dana White has been around the sport of mixed martial arts for a long time. He is, in many circles, considered the best fight promoter on the planet. In the midst of the recent scandal surrounding White striking his wife on New Year’s Eve, his response to why he would not be punished involved insinuating that the UFC would fall apart without him. Now in the wake of that, White has been filmed not remembering the name of one of his champions.
Following UFC Vegas 68 White sat down to talk to the media as he often does. He was asked about the upcoming UFC 284 main event featuring champion Islam Makhachev vs. champion Alexander Volkanovski but forgot the name of his lightweight champ. White laughed off the awkward moment and continued on, furthering the critics saying that this event is lacking in promotion.
Dana White forgot Islam’s name last night. pic.twitter.com/TRbm7uiH0U
— Spinnin Backfist (@SpinninBackfist) February 5, 2023
Ariel Helwani cannot believe that Dana White forgot Islam Makhachev’s name
Prominent MMA journalist Ariel Helwani and White have not gotten along for some time now. When Helwani saw the clip of White’s mishap he felt the need to comment. He spoke about this on a recent episode of The MMA Hour.
“How could you sit here with a straight face and say that’s good promotion, that’s the best in the business, that we deserve that, the ship would sink without that?” he said. “Didn’t remember Islam Makhachev’s name, I was blown away by that clip, who wants to give him an out? He’s the freaking lightweight champion, just beat Charles Oliveira, and hasn’t lost in 10 fights,” he said. “It’s just so formulaic and he doesn’t even remember his name, are you kidding me?”
Leading up to this monster PPV event, Makhachev himself has been a bit critical of the level of promotion involved. The bout is taking place in Australia, a market that the UFC has not visited since before the pandemic, and features two champions fighting each other. Makhachev mentioned in an interview that he thought White’s personal life might have taken away from the promotion. Now Helawani is asking if forgetting his name was systematic payback in a way.
“Is it possible, Islam has been somewhat critical of the promotion or lack thereof, was that his way of burying him?” he asked.
If Makhachev can defeat Volkanovski at UFC 264 that would make him the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the promotion. Perhaps then, White will remember his name.