ESPN provides a response three days after UFC President Dana White known as reporter Ariel Helwani a “douche”.
ESPN finally issued a response on Monday to UFC President Dana White, who on Friday – three days before the network issued a statement – referred to well-known MMA reporter Ariel Helwani as a “douche”.
ESPN and UFC are corporate partners, with the former holding exclusive rights to UFC’s pay-per-view events. That could explain how the network is dragging its feet to make a statement. Regardless, it received significant backlash even among its own reporters for refusing to endorse Helwani after White’s comments.
The network made a two-sentence statement to USA Today Monday that read, “Ariel is a valued colleague and an exceptional MMA reporter. His record speaks for itself.”
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White’s comment comes from an Instagram post Helwani shared late last week. In it, Helwani criticized former MMA fighter Gina Carano for social media comments she made in order to compare contemporary criticism of political views with Jews who were beaten in Nazi Germany. Carano’s position has since been cut, but the actress, who has also reiterated former President Donald Trump’s claims of fraud in the 2020 election, has been fired from her role on Disney + ‘The Mandalorian by Lucasfilm. She also received public backlash for the Post.
Like Lucasfilm, ESPN is owned by Disney.
“Obviously, I’m very disappointed with what she posted,” Helwani, a Jewish man, said in the Instagram video. “To be honest, I disagreed with many of the things she posted over the past year.
“That last post, which essentially compares being Republican in America or having a certain political point of view, about being Jewish in Nazi Germany during WWII, is idiotic. It’s an absolutely insane comparison. … The Gina, who I knew then. The day was a very kind hearted, warm soul. I just hate to see what happened. When she released this – for me – it was a real disappointment. It was very disappointing. “
White, also a Trump supporter, defended Carano at UFC 258 while grappling with Helwani’s position. he said it “was all about him.”
Neither Helwani nor White responded to ESPN’s testimony.