Ariel Helwani on Dana White: “It’s a Professional Relationship”
Usually the one asking the questions, MMA Fighting and Fuel TV’s Ariel Helwani has recently experienced being on the other side of the microphone. The former three-time “Journalist of the Year” by the World MMA Awards, from 2010 to 2012, took some time to talk to the UG’s guest blogger Jonathan Shrager, when he detailed his relationship with the UFC president Dana White. Here’s what Mr. Helwani had to say:
“I’d say the relationship has really remained the same throughout, and that’s pretty amazing. I feel like Dana treats me the same as when I first met him, and I give him a lot of credit for that, because when I first met him, nobody, including the fighters, the PR team or the fans knew who I was. Dana meets a lot of people, and he really treated me with a lot of respect as an interviewer and journalist. Today, we may have our moments here and there, but I don’t expect it to always be hunky-dory and rosy, we’re both coming at things from different angles, and we have different opinions. He may have an opinion of what I’m supposed to be doing, and I may ask questions that tick him off etc etc, but for the most part I cannot complain. He’s been really generous with his time to me especially, probably more so than anyone as of late, because of the all interview requests he receives.
As far as our relationship is concerned, when you talk about the most powerful man, most powerful non-fighter, most powerful promoter in the sport, I really cannot complain about the relationship that I have with him.
It’s a professional relationship. The only times I talk to Dana are the times that you see. We will text about certain things, if I’m trying to get a story or confirmation, or I’m digging around for something, but we don’t talk about personal life. There’s this misconception I think that sometimes I fly too close to the sun, but it’s very unfounded in my opinion. We don’t get coffee together, or hang out, or do anything on a social level.
I feel like my relationship with Dana is no different to my relationship with Fighter X or Promoter Y. I made a conscious effort to do that. You don’t really see me going out, or hanging out with fighters. I don’t think I should be doing that. Unless it’s for work. So my approach to how I handle things with Dana is no different to how I handle things with everyone in this sport.”