UFC 199 was off the chain, UFC 200 features the surprising return of Brock Lesnar, Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II is set, MMA media monster Ariel Helwani received a lifetime ban from Zuffa and so much more happened on June 4. We have it all, including an update on Ronda Rousey.
UFC 199 was a card full of exciting fights and two championship bouts, one of which ended with a belt changing hands in one of the biggest upsets in the promotion’s history. But rivaling for the headline of the night was the ejection of Helwani from press row, along with his videographer, E. Casey Leydon, and esteemed MMA photographer Esther Lin, all of MMAFighting.com.
Helwani is widely considered as the most important media personality in mixed martial arts. He creates some of the most memorable interviews the top athletes in the sport. Breaking news is a large part of Helwani’s job, and he’s damn good at it. Before the UFC 199 co-main event, featuring a bantamweight title fight between champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, the UFC aired a promotional video for UFC 200 and one of the biggest draws to ever grace the Octagon, Lesnar, appeared at end, indicating he will be fighting on the card. Helwani, however, broke the news via Twitter before the UFC released the video and a tweet of their own, which led to the escorting of The MMA Hour host and his two colleagues out of The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.
Rizzo and Kelly explained who loses with the absence of Helwani, and possibly MMAFighting.com, from covering live UFC events. They compared the UFC’s actions to other sports leagues, such as the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, and talked about how the banning affects the media as a whole.
Michael Bisping made the most of a long-awaited opportunity and won the middleweight championship by knocking out Luke Rockhold in the first round, but in typical fashion of the Brit, the best night of his career was marred by his tasteless post-fight comments. Cruz defended his title against Faber, 45-year-old Dan Henderson crushed former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard, and every other fight on the card delivered. The night’s competitors came to put on a performance, so much so that the Fight of the Night bonuses went to the two combatants kicking off the Fight Pass prelims, Marco Polo Reyes and “the other” Dong Hyun Kim.
Rizzo and Kelly also looked ahead at UFC Fight Night 89 and UFC 200, as well as predicted who Lesnar might meet in his return to the cage. Rizzo made his pick and backed it up emphatically. Also discussed was the rematch of Diaz and McGregor being made official for Aug. 20 at UFC 202, and Rousey’s potential next bout and where it might be.