ESPN have praised Ariel Helwani after the mixed martial arts reporter was criticised by UFC President Dana White last weekend.
At a press conference ahead of UFC 258, Dana White was asked about the Gina Carano controversy and the UFC boss responded by branding Ariel Helwani “a douche.”
Carano, a former MMA fighter turned actress, was recently fired from her role on Disney show The Mandalorian after a number of controversial social media posts, one of which compared the current political division in the United States to Nazi-era Germany.
When White was asked for his take on the story, the UFC President urged the media to leave Carano alone before criticising Helwani for his comments on the controversy.
“Leave her alone. We make mistakes, we all make mistakes,” White said.
“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.”
— Helen Yee (@HelenYeeSports) February 12, 2021
White was referring to the video Helwani, a proud Jewish man, posted in response to the Carano controversy.
“Obviously I am very disappointed in what she posted. To be honest I haven’t agreed with a lot of the things she has posted over the past year,” Helwani said on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
“This last post, essentially comparing being a Republican in America, or having a certain political view, to being a Jew in Nazi Germany during World War 2 is asinine.
“It is an absolutely crazy comparison to make and is completely insensitive to think that Jewish people and other minorities as well, not just Jews, but in this particular post Jews were the ones discussed, had to hide in attics and in gutters and had to be separated from their families and murdered six million of them.”
Helwani’s full comments can be watched in the above video.
Helwani, who leads ESPN’s MMA coverage, has clashed with White in the past but few expected White, who is the face of the UFC, to ridicule a reporter from ESPN when the UFC is in the midst of a $1.5 billion deal with the broadcaster.
“Ariel is a valued colleague and an exceptional MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself,” ESPN said in a statement issued to the New York Post.