Fans weren’t the only ones duped by a fake Ariel Helwani account this week, as former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier was also tricked into believing a false announcement about Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Over the weekend, a fraudulent account impersonating Ariel Helwani (spelled Helvani) reported some breaking news. The account announced that UFC president Dana White and Vladimir Putin had arranged for UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov to travel the US to fight Tony Ferguson in their scheduled UFC 249 bout. The Twitter account used the same profile picture as Helwani’s official account, so it certainly looked the part.
However, it was promptly clarified that the announcement was fraudulent. The lightweight champion Nurmagomedov has officially withdrawn from his anticipated title defence on April 18. Instead, fellow lightweight Justin Gaethje will take on Tony Ferguson for the lightweight interim title. Dana White has announced the winner of the new UFC 249 main event will fight the undefeated lightweight champion Nurmagomedov next.
Nurmagomedov’s American Kickboxing Academy training partner Daniel Cormier was one of many who was tricked into believing the announcement from the fake Helwani account was real.
“I mean, what happened? Is Khabib out now? What happened, did he not get on the private jet? Did Khabib not make the flight? What happened, what happened,” Cormier laughed in an interview with the real Helwani.
“Obviously I’m not paying attention to the blue checks.”
Watch Daniel Cormier and Ariel Helwani’s hilarious exchange below:
The lesson here for the MMA community? Pay attention to those verified blue ticks on Twitter. Sometimes, that can be the only way to differentiate legitimate news from bogus reporting.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/7/2020.