During today’s weigh-ins at the Chicago Theater for UFC on FOX 10, there was a glaring absence from the FOX Sports 2 broadcast. Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, who generally handles the interviews, was not present and rumors began to circulate that he is no longer with FOX and his UFC credentials could have been revoked.
This is strictly a rumor and no one has been able to confirm, but Helwani did state that he was sitting in the crowd for the weigh-ins on Friday night.
Sitting with media/fans for a UFC weigh-in for the first time since UFC 141. Great talking to everyone. This is fun! … Hi Colt Cabana!
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 24, 2014
The “Colt Cabana” reference is especially interesting.
When WWE superstar C.M. Punk was on the outs with the WWE, he did a video promo where he gave a shout out to fellow pro wrestler Colt Cabana who was an independent wrestler and not tied to the large promotion.
By shouting out Cabana, it could be a sign that Helwani is saying he’s on the outs with the UFC.
Helwani heavily covered an event for Bellator MMA in New York recently and he had a lengthy interview with C.M. Punk for MMAFighting.com, so the attention that he is paying to the UFC’s competition could have caused a strained relationship. There may also have been a clause in his contract that may have forbidden coverage for Bellator.
He was also not invited to the pre-fight media scrum with UFC president Dana White, so there is another reason to believe he is on the outs.
For those interested in the “Twitter drama,” White and Lorenzo Fertitta also stopped following Helwani on the social media website.
Of course, Helwani could simply not be working this event for FOX and the rumors are nothing other than some pot-stirring, but it will be interesting to watch over the next few days to see if any other information surfaces.