Ariel Helwani reports being ‘banned for life’ by the UFC

A leading MMA journalist was thrown out of last night’s UFC 199 event and told he was “banned for life”, writes Stephen Barry.

Ariel Helwani gave his account of being removed from The Forum arena in California, along with his MMA Fighting colleagues, before the final event of the night – which saw Michael Bisping become the first ever British UFC champion.

On the night two major fights were announced by the UFC: the rescheduled rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz, and the return of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar for UFC 200.

Helwani, who hosts the MMA Hour and MMA Beat podcasts, is widely regarded as an accurate source for such news, and broke the two major stories before the official UFC announcements.

The UFC have yet to comment on the reasons for Helwani’s removal, with Dana White absent from the post-fight press conference.

His stand-in, Vice President of Public Relations Dave Sholler, said, “Out of respect to all the parties that were involved in that conversation, I’m not going to delve into the details.”

“I was escorted out of the building by Zuffa staff before the main event,” wrote Helwani on Twitter.

“Credential taken away, too. Didn't see Bisping realize his dream.

“My long-time colleagues @ekc and @allelbows were also escorted out of the building w/ me. Sorry to report no post-fight coverage tonight.

“I love this sport & this job with all my heart. Did nothing unethical. I reported fight news. That's it. & then told we're banned for life.

“My teammates and friends @Ekc and @allelbows are the very best at what they do. I wish they didn't have to leave with me. They did nothing.

“Here's hoping cooler heads prevail. I sincerely love every fighter & fan of this sport. You have helped me realize a dream. Thank you.”

Helwani was previously fired from his role with Fox Sports 1 in March.

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