Ariel Helwani Snaps Back at Snarky Fans Following Endeavor’s Purchase of WWE: ‘My Demise Is Strongly Exaggerated’

Ariel Helwani snapped back at fans suggesting he was "screwed" following Endeavor's purchase of WWE on Monday morning.

Ariel Helwani
Courtesy of SPORTSNET on YouTube / @WONF4W on Twitter

Ariel Helwani snapped back at fans suggesting his career would be over following Endeavor’s purchase of sports entertainment juggernaut WWE.

Helwani, an avid professional wrestling fan, caught the attention of WWE fans in February when he joined the panel for the promotion’s Elimination Chamber event in Montreal. Many quickly assumed that Helwani had scored himself a permanent position with the company. In reality, it was nothing more than a one-off appearance for Helwani who just happens to be a native of Canada’s Sin City. 

However, that didn’t stop fans from assuming Helwani would be ousted from a job he never really had following Endeavor’s acquisition of the WWE.  

“I’m still processing this and I know there’s a lot of people out there making jokes about, ‘Ah, you’re screwed,’ and all this stuff,” Helwani said during The MMA Hour. “I mean, a lot of people excited to dance on old ‘Heel-wani’s’ grave and I guess it comes with the territory when you’re the hottest heel in the business, but the point is, I don’t know what you guys are talking about. I don’t work for WWE. I did the one shot in Montreal at Elimination Chamber, but it’s not… I don’t work for them. I cover them for BT Sport and as far as I’m concerned, nothing will change there.”

Ariel Helwani has endured jokes like this dating back to 2016 when the renowned MMA journalist was banned from UFC events by the promotion’s president Dana White. Hours before UFC 199 was scheduled to go live, Helwani broke the news that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar would be returning to compete at UFC 200. White was reportedly livid that Helwani had jumped the gun, spoiling their big announcement. During the event, Helwani was called to the White’s office only to find out that he had been slapped with a lifetime ban. 

With the UFC’s parent company now the owner of the WWE, many fans quickly joked that Helwani would find himself without a job for the second time. 

“Another thing to put to rest which comes up all the time. ‘Oh you can’t cover UFC’ or ‘You’re banned from UFC.’ I haven’t applied for a UFC credential since March of 2020 and as you can see from each and every week on the show, no problem getting UFC guests so talk of my demise is strongly exaggerated.”

The lifetime ban was ultimately lifted, but the incident had a lasting effect on Helwani with The MMA Hour host rarely attending UFC events from then on.  

Ariel Helwani Looks Back at the UFC and WWE’s Early 2000s History

While it may seem like it, Endeavor’s purchase of WWE is not the first time that Vince McMahon’s pro wrestling empire has been involved with the UFC. In the early 2000s, WWE’s flagship program Monday Night Raw aired on Spike TV, now known as the Paramount Network. Longtime UFC fans will remember that Spike TV would also become the home of multiple UFC events, including The Ultimate Fighter

As it turns out, Dana White had to get approval from none other than Vince McMahon in order to air in the timeslot immediately following Monday Night Raw

“It’s just kind of surreal to see those two logos together. All these years where the UFC… And you always kinda felt like Dana White had a ton of respect for Vince McMahon and he’s always spoken very highly of him, but also you kinda felt like there was this healthy competition and now with them sort of under the same umbrella, it’s wild. Of course, longtime fans of the sport will remember that if you really want to do a domino effect thing, Vince McMahon had to clear the first season of The Ultimate Fighter to air after Monday Night Raw back in 2005 when they were on Spike TV. He said yes because he didn’t really view them as a threat and so they put the last season of The Ultimate Fighter on at 11:05 p.m. after Monday Night Raw. 

“So think about all the fans that were watching Raw and stuck around to watch The Ultimate Fighter and of course, The Ultimate Fighter season one becomes this big deal, and of course, the finale and all that stuff leads to Spike really coming on board and it opens the door. If he says no to that. If he says, ‘No, I don’t want this near my flagship program,’ who knows what happens to the UFC after all these years and now here we are with them under the same roof.”

Published on April 4, 2023 at 3:39 pm
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