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ESPN forced to respond after UFC boss Dana White attacks ‘douche’ reporter

UFC 254: Press Conference Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

UFC President Dana White does not like ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani.

Probably because Helwani has a history of challenging the promotion on some of its “tone deaf” decisions, like the time White and Co. booked embattled NFL import Greg Hardy on the same card as a victim of domestic abuse.

“Who the fuck is Ariel Helwani to question anything we do? I think we’ve done a pretty good job in 20 years, I could give a shit what he thinks, or anybody else for that matter,” White told TMZ roughly two years back. “If you’re that type of douchey ... whatever you want to call him, you can make something out of anything.”

Helwani did make something out of the recent comments former Strikeforce attraction Gina Carano made on social media, which cost “Conviction” her recurring role on the widely-popular Disney+ series The Mandalorian.

“As a Jewish person, and as a human being, it just doesn’t sit well,” Helwani said on Instagram. “And I wish she would have never posted that. And quite frankly I wish someone would have talked to her about her social media posts over the past year. Some of them not even political. Just in general, they felt off to me. I am sorry she has gone down this path.”

White, who courted Carano during the Ronda Rousey era, was recently asked about the decision to “cancel” the Haywire actress for speaking her mind. Not only did he defend “Conviction,” he also lambasted Helwani for chiming in.

“Leave Gina alone,” White said. “Listen, we make mistakes. We all make mistakes. For everybody to go in on her ... I love how Ariel Helwani made it all about him. It was all about him. Such a douche.”

Broadcast partner ESPN didn’t have much to say in the 2019 incident but when pressed by reporters for a reaction to White’s recent attack on Helwani, the network told NY Post, “Ariel is a valued colleague and an exceptional MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself.”

And his colleagues speak for him.

UFC returns to the ESPN platform this weekend in Las Vegas.