MMA journalist who asked Dana White about being branded snaps back at Ariel Helwani amid criticism

MMA journalist who asked Dana White about being branded snaps back at Ariel Helwani amid criticism

The MMA journalist who asked UFC CEO Dana White to hook her up with Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone for a branding session is snapping back at critics — namely MMA Hour host Ariel Helwani.

Following Saturday’s UFC St. Louis card, White addressed members of the media and was asked by one particular journalist about his competition bull, Twisted Steel. However, the conversation took a sharp turn off the rails when the woman, later identified as Abbey Wagoner of Mola Sport, asked if he could arrange a meeting with the UFC Hall of Famer so that he could brand her.

Clout, for fun. I’ll be the girl BMF,” Wagoner responded when White asked why should would want to be branded by Cerrone.

Helwani, considered by many to be the gold standard of MMA journalism, chimed in on the incident, calling it an “embarrassing” moment for combat sports media.

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“This is what the UFC wants at their ‘press conferences,’ Helwani wrote on social media. “Make no mistake about it. The sport has come so far. It has evolved so much. The UFC is on fire. The athletes are more talented than ever. The ‘media,’ however, has gone backwards. Embarrassing.”

Less than 24 hours later, Wagoner snapped back at Helwani online, explaining why she posed the unusual question. She also reminded Helwani that, despite his undeniable position as a pioneer in his field, he is not the “be-all-end-all” in combat sports journalism.

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“What’s up fight fans? I just wanted to jump on here and address something real quick,” Wagoner said in a video on X. “You can hear it in my voice. I was at UFC Fight Night, Derrick Lewis vs. Nascimento. It was a good night. Some of you guys might recognize my voice from the post-fight press conference. I was the female reporter that asked Dana White about Twisted Steel and specifically about getting branded at the world finals.

“Ariel Helwani, I’ve got a lot of respect for you as a reporter and as a trailblazer in combat sports media because without you, I wouldn’t have the job that I have and a lot of people wouldn’t have the jobs that they have. But you need to recognize too that, yeah, you’re a journalist. You have a podcast. You talk to fighters. You and are in very different lanes and on top of that, you made it out to seem like I was asking an irrelevant question.

“Dana White has a very competitive PBR bucking bull that I’ve been following since November of last year. I’ve been chasing the ‘Cowboy’ story. The bull ride. The eight seconds for glory since they announced it. I was one of the first MMA reporters to actually give a sh*t about that story and I’m one of the only combat sports personalities that shows up at the PBR. Other than the Monster crew, I was the only one in Jacksonville covering Twisted Steel and I went out specifically to Albuquerque. So, maybe don’t question my relevancy or my right to be in that room without understanding everything that goes in.

“And maybe don’t clip the one part of the conversation that Dana took a little bit too far and that I rolled with. It’s news media. I am new, and you are not the be-all-end-all, Ariel.”

Wagoner Continues to Double Down on Usual Dana White Inquiry

With only 774 followers on X, Wagoner has no issues responding to practically everyone commenting on her video, doubling down on her antics at the post-fight press event and her message to Helwani.

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