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|Born||July 8, 1982|
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
|Years active||2006 – present|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (180 cm)|
|Relatives||David Saad (uncle) |
Gad Saad (uncle)
Early life and education
Helwani was born to Mizrahi Jewish parents in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He grew up in Mount Royal, Quebec and Westmount and attended the Akiva School and Herzliah High School. Helwani's mother is from Lebanon and his father is from Egypt. He is the maternal nephew of David Saad, a judoka who competed in the men's lightweight event at the 1976 Summer Olympics, and Gad Saad, the evolutionary behavioural scientist.
Helwani has covered mixed martial arts professionally since 2006. He worked for MMA Fighting (news site)) before joining ESPN in May 2018. He formerly served as an "MMA Insider" for Fox Sports 1's weekly UFC Tonight show and other pre- and post-event programming. He is the former co-host of the Sirius XM radio show "Fight Club", is currently the host of The MMA Hour podcast  and the MMA Beat show on YouTube. He's interim vice president of the Mixed Martial Arts Journalists Association.
UFC 199 controversy / UFC lifetime ban
On June 4, 2016, Helwani and two colleagues were escorted out of UFC 199 before the main event. He said their press credentials were taken and they were banned for life from all UFC events. He earlier reported the return of Brock Lesnar at UFC 200, hours before UFC announced it on the broadcast, without notifying UFC first. UFC spokesman Dave Sholler said such reporting was against standard practice. According to UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Helwani was asked to not report this news, as management suspected a mole had leaked it to him and, without knowing who it was, would then have to fire all possible moles. Through Twitter, Helwani called Rogan's story "100% inaccurate."
UFC president Dana White was displeased. He announced that the ban will last "As long as I'm here." Later, he reputedly added "He can cover all the events he wants, he just can't have a credential" 
On the June 6 episode of The MMA Hour, Helwani detailed the incident in an emotional broadcast. He said he was brought to see Dana White, who told him he was banned for being "too negative". He later learned this call was made by Lorenzo Fertitta. He stood by his decision to report the news in a timely manner, and said he would continue to work as an MMA journalist.
Many high profile UFC fighters sympathised with Helwani. Light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones wrote on Twitter "That's unfortunate." Former Middleweight champion Chris Weidman said on Twitter "This sport needs the GOAT (slang for Greatest Of All Time) of MMA reporting".
Later on June 6, UFC rescinded the ban, stating: ""Following a conversation with the editorial team at SB Nation, UFC will not prevent MMAFighting.com from receiving media credentials to cover live UFC events. We respect the role the media plays in our sport and beyond, including MMAFighting's ability to report news. However, in our opinion, we believe the recurring tactics used by its lead reporter extended beyond the purpose of journalism. We feel confident our position has now been adequately communicated to the SB Nation editorial team.
Mayweather vs. McGregor ban
Helwani claimed that he was removed from the Showtime broadcast team for the Mayweather vs. McGregor press tour, hours before the first press conference in Los Angeles. "Not working for @SHOsports anymore on the May/Mac tour," wrote Helwani on Twitter, "UFC specifically asked to have me removed. Incredibly disappointed."
UFC 211 post fight conference
Women's strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk cried following a question by Helwani. Jedrzejczyk's coach Kami Barzini left American Top Team, her training camp. Helwani asked Jedrzejczyk about the event. Jedrzejczyk denied that she knew about this change. Helwani followed up asking whether she will convince Barzini to stay. "I don't want to talk about it," replied Jedrzejczyk. Upset, Jedrzejczyk cried and left the press conference with her belt. On Twitter, Helwani apologised for asking about Barzini. The following Monday on The MMA Hour, Jedrzejczyk said that the incident was not Helwani's fault.
Helwani left MMA Fighting and is now working for ESPN.
Honors and awards
In 2011, FIGHT! Magazine named him as one of their "Power 20", a list of the "most significant power players, movers, shakers, ambassadors, and game-changers in MMA," describing him as "the Howard Cosell of MMA".
At the beginning of 2015, Helwani won "2014 Journalist of the Year" in the Awakening WMMA Awards.
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