Ariel Helwani has revealed that the welterweight title showdown between the legendary Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes at UFC 65 was the fight that inspired him most to become an MMA journalist.The Canadian journalist took to Twitter to reveal the most memorable fight he's ever witnessed between two absolute legends of the sport.
Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes squared off in the main event of UFC 65 back in 2006. Ariel Helwani recollected watching the fight at a jam-packed sports bar in Montreal. Helwani said that he was amazed to see that there were so many people who followed the sport as passionately as he did.
"I’ll never forget watching this at a packed Champs Sports bar in MTL. I had never been around other fans who loved the sport as much as I did. They erupted when GSP won. That’s the night I decided I was really gonna try my hardest to become an MMA journo."
When GSP spectacularly finished Hughes in the 2nd round of the fight to become the new welterweight champion, Ariel Helwani said that the crowd inside the sports bar went into a frenzy. Helwani remembers it as the first time he felt really strongly about trying to follow his passion in becoming an MMA journalist. Interestingly, Helwani started covering mixed martial arts professionally in the very same year, working for MMA Fighting.
Ariel Helwani's UFC 199 controversy and subsequent lifetime ban
On June 4, 2016, Ariel Helwani was escorted out of The Forum in Inglewood, California right before the commencement of the UFC 199 main event between Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping. Helwani said that the promotion took away his press credentials and he was also handed a lifetime ban which would not allow him to cover any UFC event.
This happened because earlier on that evening, Ariel Helwani broke the big news of Brock Lesnar's return at UFC 200, hours before UFC announced it on the broadcast, without giving prior notice to the promotion. According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Helwani was asked to refrain from reporting the news because the news was leaked to Helwani through a company insider.
Ariel Helwani later took to Twitter to call Rogan's version of what transpired that night "completely inaccurate." The UFC later rescinded the ban on June 6, just a couple of days following the incident.