Who had a rivalry between Paddy Pimblett and ‘The MMA Hour’ host Ariel Helwani on their MMA bingo card?
In a fairly unexpected twist, ‘The Baddy’ made an enemy out of the tenured combat sports journalist after Pimblett appeared to offer Helwani an interview and then seemingly asked for payment when the ‘MMA Hour’ host attempted to set up a time and date.
Unwilling to pay for an interview, Helwani left things alone, but Pimblett was clearly not happy with the interaction and decided to air out his grievance on the Chattin’ Pony podcast with UFC President Dana White along for the ride.
“When I was in New York for the MSG card last year, he wanted me to do an interview with him and I had a paid interview that day,” explained Pimblett. “He wanted me to let go of that paid interview to do an interview with him for BT Sport. What he’s getting paid for and he said, ‘Oh, no, that’s my journalist integrity.’
“You’re not a journalist no more. You’re a content creator. You’re not a journalist. Stop lying You’re very biased in what you do and what you say and he went on his MMA Hour and talked about me and my manager and I ended up messaging him. The first line was, ‘You’re a cheeky c*nt’ and he didn’t like it, but that was just me being honest.”
— Lewis Glover MMA (@LewisGloverMMA) December 7, 2022
Ariel Helwani Unloads on Paddy Pimblett on ‘The MMA Hour’
After being made aware of Paddy Pimblett’s comments, Ariel Helwani opted to address the issue immediately on Wednesday’s episode of ‘The MMA Hour‘ on YouTube. Helwani unloaded on the Liverpudlian in a fiery response, saying:
“You want me to pay for interviews? That’s not journalism and we may have a difference of opinion on what I do as opposed to what you think I do. I ain’t paying for shit. That’s not how this works. You don’t pay for coverage. That’s not how this works. Does Joe Rogan pay his guests? Did Oprah pay her guests? Did Larry King pay his guests? No. That’s not how this works.
“Now if you’re upset about the fact that you come on my show and I’m getting paid to do the show, well then I could in turn say the same thing. I’m upset that I have to go to your fights and you get paid more than me when you fight. It’s stupid. I would never say that because that’s ridiculous.”
Helwani provides a list of receipts as a counterexample against “liars” Paddy Pimblett & Dana White.
“Where I’ve been biased against Paddy pimblertt,” Helwani said. “In fact I think I said his last fight was his best performance in fact I think I said after it came out in March that he was underpaid I was defending him saying how much he deserved to get more giving him props. Show me where I’ve been biased against Paddy show me where I’ve talked against Paddy dating back to I don’t know when he was in cage Warriors. And yeah, I’ll say this, maybe you could say I talk too much about the UFC. Maybe I don’t talk enough about the LFAs, maybe I don’t talk enough about the KSWs, maybe I don’t talk about the quote unquote ‘regional promotions.’ It’s because there’s enough UFC, PFL, Bellator stuff out there,” Helwani said. “If there’s one guy, if there’s one guy you could say I’ve been talking about long before he was even on the UFC radar, it’s Paddy Pimblett! That’s what’s so crazy about this whole story! This guy was on the show back in the day when he was several fights away from a UFC fight. There aren’t a lot of those guys.
“Like, you could say, yeah, I jumped on the [Israel Adesanya] bandwagon late. I got him after his UFC debut. I jumped on the Conor [McGregor] bandwagon late, right before his UFC debut. You could say that about the vast majority of people that come on this show. Not him! I was talking about him well before he even made it to the UFC because I was interested in him, because he had this magnetic personality, because he was fun, he had a cool name, a cool look, a cool accent, a fun style, back when no one was talking about him, at least not on shows like this and again this isn’t me trying to Pat my back this is me trying to say I was talking about this guy in a positive light from the beginning all the way till even after he like started to have this issue with me. In fact, I believe back in 2018 when he was in studio we had this little cheeky exchange do you get the sense that even though you haven’t fought in the UFC that people know you in the gym, they recognize you right, I feel like they’re a bit late on this one yeah wasn’t making any money.”
Prior to Pimblett’s comments about Helwani on his own podcast, the two appeared to have a cordial relationship with ‘The Baddy’ appearing on ‘The MMA Hour’ in the past, even before he had signed with the UFC. Helwani suspects that Pimblett’s comments may have been nothing more than a way to curry favor with the UFC President who has been at odds with Helwani since 2016.
You can watch Ariel Helwani’s full feature-length response to Paddy Pimblett and Dana White below.