Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather are embarking on a short world press tour to promote their very dumb fight next month, and it kicks off today in Los Angeles. UFC czar Dana White will be there, but the most prominent member of the MMA media will no longer be working the event for Showtime.
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani said today that he’d been abruptly booted by the UFC from covering the tour for the network airing the pay-per-view. This came about a year after a June 2016 fiasco in which Helwani was banned for life by the UFC for reporting news, before revealing that he had worked as the company’s paid shill. (His credentials were eventually restored.)
It’s not a stretch to think White has something to do with this, since he impulsively blackballed Helwani before UFC 199 last year then threw a shit fit about ethics in fight journalism. Since WME-IMG took over as UFC owners last year, Helwani’s relationship with the promotion has been notably stable, although he recently joined the MMA Journalists Association with other members of the MMA media. Mayweather doesn’t seem to be involved in this specific decision, although the boxer’s had his own share of media standoffs in the past, especially before his bout against Manny Pacquiao.
We’ve reached out to Showtime and Helwani for comment and will update this post if we hear back.