Joe Rogan previously weighed in on Ariel Helwani's rocky relationship with the UFC. On the June 6th, 2016 episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, the popular commentator and podcaster told his guest, Dave Smith, about the UFC's side of the story.
It came after the promotion had initially imposed a lifetime ban on Helwani for covering UFC events. After a public outpouring of support for the reporter, the UFC reversed course and gave him back his credentials. But according to Joe Rogan's previous accounts, there's more to the narrative than what Helwani has been sharing.
"The UFC perspective was that there was a mole," Rogan said. "They believe that someone was giving Ariel information and that information he was using to scoop the UFC's official promotions."
Insiders breaking reports is nothing new in professional sports. The NBA has Adrian Wojnarowski; the NFL has Adam Schefter; pro-wrestling has Dave Meltzer. Apparently, Ariel Helwani wanted to be that person for MMA. However, Joe Rogan said the UFC is unhappy with "top-secret information" about their affairs getting publicized. Obviously, the UFC wasn't publicly traded at the time.
"So, the UFC, which is a private company, they don't have to have... they don't have to let people into [their] business, [their] private company. And they felt that he was somehow getting a hold of this inside information and releasing it and making them look bad."
"From what I understand, the conversation with [Helwani] was, 'Don't do this because if you do this, there's only a handful of people who know this information. So, we're gonna fire everybody. We're gonna fire a bunch of people and you're gonna ruin people's lives."
Joe Rogan then revealed that, based on the information he was told, Ariel Helwani went ahead and reported that Brock Lesnar was returning to the octagon at UFC 200. The journalist did this before the promotion got the chance to make the announcement.
As a disclaimer, the UFC commentator went on to say that he wasn't taking sides but was merely telling people the other side of the story. Joe Rogan added:
"This is the side that you're not hearing. So, all you're hearing is that the UFC banned him for life and everybody is upset."
Watch Joe Rogan talk about Ariel Helwani's relationship with the UFC:
Ariel Helwani's side of the story
Fast-forward to 2021: Ariel Helwani hasn't been shy about describing his relationship with UFC president Dana White.
The MMA reporter recently appeared as a guest on Dan Le Batard's podcast to discuss how the UFC boss made his professional life miserable. According to Helwani, the UFC boss put "one roadblock after the next" in front of him during his tenure with ESPN.
The MMA journalist revealed that he is not allowed to be in the same building as White. Subsequently, Ariel Helwani gets escorted out of events every time White is present.
"When I would be at events, and let's say it's the weigh-ins, right?" Helwani recalled. "And there's a desk there and I would be doing something beforehand and Dana White is coming as a guest in 30 minutes or something... I would have to be escorted out of the venue because per his request, I couldn't be in his vicinity or his line of sight."
Watch the full interview below: