" OH. MY. GOD. ? #UFC200https://t.co/ffhsOYIRvz — UFC (@ufc) June 5, 2016 "
This is the latest promo for UFC 200 which aired Saturday night during UFC 199. If you watch it all the way through, you’ll see that shoehorned into the last few seconds is the “official” announcement that Brock Lesnar will be fighting at UFC 200. “Wow,” right? Brock Lesnar back in the UFC? That’s huge! So what is the MMA media talking about this morning after a wild event where some insanely big news was announced? How about the fact that the UFC kicked the guy who broke the story – and his co-workers – out of the arena during UFC 199 and apparently banned them for life?
Ariel Helwani, who mysteriously parted ways with FOX Sports 1 earlier this year, accurately broke the Lesnar news earlier Saturday evening on MMA Fighting. For this accurate reporting, Helwani, along with co-workers E. Casey Leydon and Esther Lin, were escorted out of the building and apparently banned for life.
This certainly seems like a bit of an overreach by the UFC, huh? The closest example I can think of is the NFL asking reporters not to tip picks during the NFL Draft. Of course, I can’t think of any NFL reporters who tweeted a draft pick who were subsequently banned from ever attending another football game. And the names of NFL photographers who worked with that reporter and were also banned also escape me.
Now, this isn’t the first time that the UFC has officially, or unofficially, banned media. However, it is the most high profile. High profile reporter. High profile story. High profile banning. If only the UFC had an opportunity to beat Helwani to breaking the news. Here’s UFC President Dana White speaking to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto about Brock Lesnar earlier Saturday.
Oh well. For now let’s just wonder who will actually be at UFC 200. Will Lesnar really be ready on a month’s notice? Who will be his opponent? And who will be there to report on it?
UPDATE: Helwani also broke the Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz rematch before the UFC announced it yesterday.