Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) journalist Ariel Helwani did not hold back on UFC president Dana White when discussing his current controversy. This week, video footage surfaced showing White and his wife slapping each other at a night club on New Years Eve.
The footage showed White’s wife striking him first, with the UFC boss returning fire himself. Since, both have issued apologies to one another, noting that it was the first time in their relationship that they’ve ever gotten physical with one another. It was also said that both were heavily intoxicated, and White himself scarcely remembers details of the altercation.
Ariel Helwani Unleashes On Dana White
Taking to his show, “The MMA Hour,” Helwani discussed how it’s sickening that some are defending White’s actions from this week. He also noted that he hopes White’s planned slap-fighting league will no longer be broadcast by TBS, and says shame on anyone still involved in the project moving forward.
“He is who we thought he was. He is who I know who he is. I hope you understand now, because I said it back then and I’ll say it again. He is who I know he is. Y’all can keep defending him. You can keep defending the actions, you can keep defending the way that they treat fighters, you can keep doing that. And I’ll still be here talking about the sport, and I love the sport, and I love the fighters. I can’t believe that you are defending this.
“Shame on all of you who are defending this. Shame on every single one of you – shame on every single fighter who is defending this. Shame on TBS if they’re going to air that slap fighting league – and last I check you click on the link it doesn’t even go to anything anymore so who the hell knows? Can you script it any worst? Shame on TBS if that’s what you’re going to do. Shame on TBS if you’re going to air a slap fighting league and shame on anyone else who picks it up afterwards.
“After that? Really? And they’ve stayed quiet as well. Shame on anyone who is covering that, honestly. Shame on all of you. That’s not sport. Shame on Nevada for sanctioning that, Nevada who doesn’t sanction BKFC? They sanction that? You’re kidding me? No defense? Shame on the fighters that have to take part in it, shame on all of them.
Helwani further pointed out that White himself has talked about how someone can’t come back from striking a woman – and the veteran MMA journalist agrees. He believes there needs to be some repercussions for White’s actions, and is disturbed by the overall silence.
‘Alcohol flowed. Do you remember anything from that night?’ Shame on everyone. Shame on everyone for just letting this slide because you wouldn’t let it slide if it was someone else. So I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m not even advocating for anything. Again, there needs to be repercussions, there needs to be accountability – I don’t think there will be. Prove me wrong. Color me surprised.
“I don’t know what is going to happen. But to me, if you want to know my stance on it – you don’t touch a woman, you don’t touch the mother of your kids, you don’t touch your wife, you don’t touch anyone, you walk away. And there’s no excuse. Even though they tried to offer him excuses, there are absolutely no excuses. And as he said, you don’t bounce back, and I agree. It’s pretty freaking hard to bounce back,” Helwani said. “There are repercussions. What are the repercussions here? Where is the accountability? Why the silence? That’s what I want to know, why the silence?
This is the Dana White video in question for those who missed it. Pick an athlete, owner or coach in ANY other sport that could be caught on video slapping their wife and it just kinda goes away. pic.twitter.com/wwyw6M7Q2P
— Andreas Hale (@AndreasHale) January 3, 2023
There has been a longstanding conflict between Helwani and White. Back in 2016 at UFC 199, Helwani was banned from UFC events after breaking news of Brock Lesnar’s return prior to the UFC actually officially announcing it. The ban was soon lifted after some time, but the bad blood between both Helwani and White has remained strong throughout the years.
While the personal issues are still there, some even more deep rooted than Helwani himself actually cares to make public, Helwani said he has thought about making those issues public given recent events. Ultimately, after some consideration, he opted not to.
“I’ll say one last thing on all this and then we can put all this to bed, and we can get to all of the awards. As I said, it’s been way to personal. And it has reached levels that I never thought in a million years that it would reach. And I’ve debated in my mind over the last few days if I go to a certain place, and I’m not going to go to a certain place.
“Because this ultimately isn’t about me and I don’t want it o be about me but it needs to be about the sport and it needs to be about who is leading this sport, and who is involved in this sport, and the way in which people view the sport. And so I’m not going to go to a certain place. But I will say this. Of all the things that Dana White has said about me, all the lies, all the insults, all the bullsh*t, all the nonsense, all the man, vitriolic, disgusting things that he has said about me – for what? For breaking some news, for getting it right, for not kissing his ass, for not cupping his balls? For what? Of all the things that he has said, there has only been one that has stuck with me,” Helwani said.
Lastly, Helwani brought up an old podcast interview in which White poked fun at Helwani for crying about being banned from all UFC events shortly after UFC 199. At the time, Helwani believed his career was essentially over. White then said the line “What are your kids going to say about you?” in regards to seeing him cry on camera publicly. Helwani took the opportunity to flip the script on the UFC boss.
“That was back in 2016, that was back after the UFC 199 incident, that was a couple of days after the unbanning. And Dana was on UFC Unfiltered with Norton and Sara, and he was talking about this whole thing, and he was saying that I was throwing a pity party for myself, and they were making fun of me and talking about how I was a scumbag and this and that, and perpetuating these lies. And in the interview, which I’m not going to play, he was making fun of the fact that when I spoke about it on this show, in a different studio, I got very emotional.
“And this is the one thing that when I saw it and when I heard it I was like, ‘F*cking hell I can’t believe he went there.’ I can’t believe he stooped so low. Because again, you don’t like me as a journalist, you don’t like me as a host, you don’t like me as a news breaker – fine. But you don’t go to a certain level. That’s what I’ve always believed, that’s what I’ve always tried to hold on to no matter what. Even though so many others have tried to make it personal.
“And in the interview with those guys – if you want to call it an interview – they were talking about me crying and he said something to the effect of, that I looked like a wuss, and ‘Your kids are going to see that, your kids are going to see that one day.’ And how embarrassed they’re going to be that they saw their father cry. By seeing their father get emotional after he was just verbally assaulted, after other sh*t had happened, after he was told his career was over, after he was told that there was a bullet in his head and he was done.
“Your kids are going to see that. And I could not believe that he would go to that level that he would talk about my family. That has stuck with me since 2016. That has always remained with me. That’s the type of person he is. You don’t talk about people’s families, you don’t talk about people’s kids, you don’t talk about any of that. That has always stuck with me. What are your kids going to say about that? And to be honest with you, when he said it I thought to myself “What are my kids going to say about this?” And I know what my kids are going to say.
“I know forever that they’re going to say that I stood up for myself, I told the truth, and all that stuff. I have nothing to be ashamed of, I have nothing to hide, but I have never forgotten it. So on this day, I’ll raise the same freaking question that he raised about me back in 2016. What are your kids going to say about you? What are your kids going to say about your legacy?
“About the way you treat fighters? About the way you treat people? About your business practices? What are your kids going to say about that video? What are your kids going to say about the type of person that you are? What are your kids going to say about you? Ask yourself that f*cking question. What are your kids going to say about you?