During his latest MMA Hour show, Ariel Helwani detailed discussed his side of the story following a shot taken by Tony Khan over his appearances on WWE television. Helwani has also made clear he doesn't believe he is a wrestling journalist.
"I'm not a wrestling journalist. I've never called myself a wrestling journalist. I don't report on wrestling like others do. I do interview wrestlers, I enjoy it tremendously, I try to think and act like a journalist when I do these interviews, but I am not a wrestling journalist. I, obviously, have relationships with people there because Nick Khan, the CEO, was my agent. I can't hide from that. I wasn't sure what direction I should go, what should I do. I came to the conclusion that, in life, especially post-ESPN, I just want to have fun. I want to do fun things. I came to the conclusion, around December, if an opportunity comes up again, I'm going to take it," he began. "It's always been a bucket list thing for me. I made a promise to myself, without seeking it, if this opportunity came up again, I would seriously consider it because life is too short, I want to have fun. I'm not a wrestling journalist. I think people are confusing me for my role in MMA, it's not the same. All things aren't equal."
"I said yes, and I said, 'this time, I am going to get paid.' The reason I didn't say it beforehand, I didn't want to ruin the surprise. I wanted it to be organic and fun. As of right now, I haven't been paid, but you get the point, I agreed to it. Unless they decide to not pay me because I sucked, which is fine. I might have been fired," he joked.
"I don't care what anyone says about him [Triple H]. He's a mensch, salt of the earth guy, and very welcoming and kind to me," said Helwani.
"I swear to God, I looked at it three times and I thought it was fake. Anyone can have a blue check. This guy doesn't follow me, he's never tweeted me, there is no way he actually tweeted this. Number one, proving that he was watching, which is bizarre. Why would you do that? Why would you put the competition over and show that you're watching some random SmackDown and a random moment in the telecast,"
"The real thing he should have done is not say anything because why put over the competitions broadcast? You talk about an own goal, I know Fulham is having a better season, they certainly haven't had a great run with the Khans involved, but this was an all-time great own goals. I couldn't believe it. I had to check multiple times if it was really him."
"He is still upset, clearly, over the fact that he gave me one of the all-time worst interviews, and ignoring the fact that I have continuously praised the product ever since they launched. It was a bad interview, objectively, a bad interview. What is amazing about that interview is, everyone loves to talk about, 'he couldn't talk about this, legal this,' where is the legal? Where is the proof? What legal are you talking about? What is this investigation that you guys keep talking about? I had asked Tony multiple times to come on the show. I stopped asking because I was told that he wasn't sure, I'm Nick Khan's guy, I work for BT, which is stupid because that's just the broadcast partner. That's like saying Bellator guys shouldn't speak to Marc Raimondi because he works for ESPN and UFC is on ESPN," said Helwani. "They reached out to me several months later and said, 'do you want to have Tony on?' Never said, 'Don't ask about this, don't ask about that.' You don't think I'm not going to ask about these things? Anyone worth their salt is going to ask about these things. There is a million different ways you could have answered those questions. At the time, I had no relationship with anyone in terms of business. This was early October. To now, pin those questions on me appearing on SmackDown, is a bullshit move, because one has nothing to do with the other. He's just mad that he came off looking like a guy that didn't know how to handle these situation and is only comfortable promoting and talking on about a product, but that's not what the public wants to hear. Now, he wants to say, 'Ah ha, look, this is why he asked me these questions.' It's all silly bullshit. Why do you care? I said it was a bad interview, I praised your product, why are you so quick to run to your phone and tweet this in my moment."
"The amazing thing was is how the whole thing spread backstage. 'Did you see the tweet? Did you see the tweet?' I don't even know a lot of these people. 'It's amazing. How could he? Was that really him?' He's no different than Dana (White). What I thought about tweeting back to him was, 'Dana is not going to shag you, mate.' I know he's just trying to curry favor with his idol Dana White. I was thinking of that one, but I thought it might be a little too much of a deep cut for the wrestling audience," said Helwani.
"I was not going to let this guy, who has built an amazing thing, all credit to him. This kid, who, if it wasn't for his old man...let me tell you something, my dad gave me a lot, but as far as MMA journalism and everything I've built, that was all on me. I'm very proud of what I've built. I wasn't going to let this guy fucking soil my name, drag it through the mud, ruin my night. I know he's trying to get himself over on me because lord knows he needs it, I wasn't going to let that happen. Absolutely not. I can tell you a lot of other stuff about that interview that we didn't show about how weird and bizarre that whole thing was, but I'm not going to do that."
"I thought I wasn't going to reply, but then I was like, 'Fuck it, Heelwani, 10-7, all day, everyday.' I was like, 'I'm not going to let this slide. You're not going to call me a fraud and get away with it.'"
"Michael Cole, legend that he is, says to me before the broadcast, 'Wait until you hear how I introduce you.' I go to the back and my phone explodes because of what Michael Cole said. Everyone is going nuts over this, I'm getting high fives in the back. I'm like, 'I didn't do anything.'"
"I'm not a WWE employee. If they come back and we talk about something else, would I be open to it if it makes sense, I don't think me being a character is the right move, I don't know. I would consider anything. Tony, I am done. If you want to talk about me helping out the product, I'll show up on Dynamite for the right price. You want me to be bought and paid for, let's put out the 'Fraud' t-shirts right now, I'll lean all the way in."
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