Ariel Helwani Removed from Showtime’s Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather Coverage

There may be a lot of people rolling their eyes at the spectacle that is Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor, but Joe Rogan is not one of them. The comedian and UFC commentator has been enjoying every last second of the shenanigans on display during the Mayweather vs. McGregor World Tour, and shared his thoughts on the subject with fellow MMA fan and TOOL frontman Maynard James Keenan on his podcast.
As Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor start the hype for their Aug. 26 showdown, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani will not be covering the proceedings for Showtime.

Helwani tweeted out that the UFC requested he be removed, saying he was "incredibly disappointed" and pointed the blame at UFC President Dana White:

The relationship between Helwani and UFC President Dana White has been well-documented, with White trying to limit Helwani's ability to cover mixed martial arts for MMAFighting. 

At UFC 199 on June 4, 2016, Helwani tweeted he was escorted out of the Forum arena in Inglewood, California, prior to the main event between Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold. 

Per TMZ Sports, White banned Helwani from covering UFC events due to being angry Helwani reported Brock Lesnar's return to mixed martial arts at UFC 200 and the contract for McGregor and Nate Diaz's second fight was done. 

Two days later, the UFC lifted Helwani's lifetime ban and allowed him to once again cover the sport. 

Helwani is one of the most prominent journalists in mixed martial arts. He has covered the sport since 2006 and will often have post-fight interviews with many of the biggest stars after an event has concluded. 
“Conor’s hilarious, man,” Rogan said. “He’s f**king hilarious. He’s laughing and having a great time and Floyd seemed a little rattled by how confident this guy is when they were going face to face and standing off with each other.”

Keep in mind this was Rogan’s assessment after the first press conference in Los Angeles, one many people felt McGregor wasn’t prepared for. The real trash talk started flowing during event number two in Toronto, where Conor savaged Floyd unmercifully. That being said, at the end of the day this isn’t a roast. It’s a fight, and Rogan still gives the edge to Mayweather in the ring.

“The thing about Floyd is I think you have an idea of what you can do to him until you get into the ring with him, and then you realize how good he is,” Joe explained. “His defense is just on another level, he’s just in a completely different zone all by himself. His movement, the way he figures out what you’re gonna do, the way he processes your movement and throws it into his boxing computer and before you know it he’s catching you before you even know what you’re doing. He’s just a wizard when it comes to boxing.”

But there’s just enough advantages and question marks surrounding McGregor to keep things interesting.

“The thing is, Conor is a way bigger guy. He’s younger, he’s way stronger, I mean physically stronger, not just in terms of punching power. Way stronger with punching power, but he’s also strong physically. Like if he gets ahold of Floyd and starts manipulating him physically. I’m very curious to see, his trainer John Kavanagh is a very very smart guy. And I know he’s also working with Paulie Malignaggi, he’s a world champion and one of the best boxing commentators in the business, he’s helping Conor.”

“It’s going to be interesting,” he concluded. “On paper you have to say that Floyd has a massive advantage. But all this s**t talking wears on a man. That’s a different kind of s**t talking than Floyd’s ever experienced. He’s got a guy telling him ‘I can kill you, easy!’ He’s got a guy telling him ‘If this is a real fight, you’re dead!’