Ariel Helwani takes credit for ‘Backstabbing’ Bisping’s short-notice title opportunity at UFC 199

Ariel Helwani takes credit for 'Backstabbing' Bisping's Short-Notice title opportunity at UFC 199

Ariel Helwani believes no fighter has benefitted from his reporting more than Michael Bisping.

Recently, Helwani has found himself in a war of words with Bisping after the former UFC middleweight champion accused The MMA Hour host of essentially “making sh*t up” as the world waited to hear about Conor McGregor’s return on June 29. Before Dana White made the official announcement, letting us know that ‘Mystic Mac’ was out of the bout, Helwani reported on multiple occasions that the fight was in jeopardy and that the promotion was scrambling to secure a replacement main event.

Ariel Helwani

At the time, Bisping slammed Helwani on his Believe You Me podcast, claiming that the multi-time award-winning journalist was simply spreading rumors. Of course, we now know that was not the case. Helwani’s reporting proved to be true.

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Still fuming from Bisping’s prior comments, Helwani revealed that it was he who informed ‘The Count’ of an opportunity to step in and challenge for the 185-pound title against then-champion Luke Rockhold at UFC 199 after Rockhold’s originally scheduled opponent, Chris Weidman, was forced out due to injury.

“No fighter has benefitted more from my desire to be in the know and report back to you,” Helwani said. “From my quest to be the best journalist that I can be. No fighter has benefitted more than Michael Bisping. In May of 2016, Chris Weidman told me that he’s hurt, that he’s injured his neck, and he’s not going to fight at UFC 199. I catch wind that they’re going to try to book Jacare [Souza] vs. [Luke] Rockhold.

“I know that Michael Bisping was at the end of his career, but he was on a bit of a run, and the dream is to become a champion. I reached out to him and he was filming a movie and I say, ‘Look, this is going to happen. You should throw your name in the hat. You should reach out to the UFC. This is something no one knows about. Throw your name out there and see what happens. Maybe you get the fight on short notice and shock the world.’

“By the way, don’t take my word for it. It’s in his book and his documentary.”

Ariel Helwani isn’t interested in an apology from ‘backtracker’ bisping

Bisping went on to win the fight, scoring a first-round knockout against Rockhold on just two weeks’ notice to claim his first UFC championship.

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“You got the fight, you got the win, and your life was changed forever,” Helwani continued. “You did all that, but to sit here and talk sh*t about me and say that I’m willing to risk it all. I’m not risking it all. In what other sports are journalists treated this way? Acting like I’m speculating. Acting like I’m making sh*t up. I was right and you never even apologized. I don’t even want your apology.

“Your apology means absolutely nothing to me, but then you go on your show after the news comes out, after you’ve been bombarded and called ‘Bootlicker’ Bisping. Now I should call you ‘Backtracker’ Bisping, or maybe the best title of them all is ‘Backstabbing’ Bisping because that’s what you’ve done.”