Tensions between renowned combat sports journalist Ariel Helwani and Dominance MMA founder Ali Abdelaziz continued over the weekend.
Abdelaziz has long been a source of scrutiny amongst the sport’s community. The 45-year-old currently acts as a manager for esteemed UFC athletes such as Islam Makhachev, Justin Gaethje and Kamaru Usman. His company also has a long-standing relationship with Hall of Famer Khabib Nurmagomdeov.
Helwani has also undergone well-documented issues with MMA’s most notable figures throughout modern history. A falling out with UFC CEO Dana White over leaking Brock Lesnar and Nate Diaz bouts left the Nottingham Forest fan banned from attending promotion events.
Similarly, he was involved in an online quabble with British prospect Paddy Pimblett at the end of 2022. The 41-year-old is undoubtedly one of the most accomplished combat sports journalists, and regularly hosts his adored show ‘The MMA Hour‘.
Ariel Helwani Responds to Ali Abdelaziz Insults
Helwani and Abdelaziz have often shared Twitter spats in recent years. The latest came over the weekend, which began after the Canadian announced that Lightweight champion Makhachev would headline UFC 297 in January against former title-holder Charles Oliveira.
Helwani stated on X:“The current plan – though not finalized just yet – is to have Islam Makhachev x Charles Oliveira 2 – headline UFC 297. That event, while not officially announced yet, is currently slated to Jan. 20 in Toronto.
“The original plan for that main was Volkanovski x Topuria, but now the plan is for that to be on the February PPV. Raquel Pennington x Mayra Bueno Silva for the vacant 135 title also scheduled for that January card, as reported yesterday.“
Abdelaziz, manager of Makhachev, was quick to respond to these claims. He wrote: “Fake news @MAKHACHEVMMA fighting Charles Oliveira in January.“
The Egyptian’s onslaught continued, and he seemingly looked to attack Helwani personally. “Guys, please don’t listen to people can’t even get credentials to UFC events fake news b**ch,” Abdelaziz stated.
Helwani fired back hours later, digging into supposed issues with Abdelaziz’s travel rights: “Hey at least I can get on a plane and leave the country.”
It was reported earlier this year that the 45-year-old was unable to leave the United States without alerting authorities due to being a former NYPD informant. This relates to a 2002 case where Abdelaziz was arrested and imprisoned for document forgery. While in jail, the Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence David Cohen recruited him to work within a Virginia-based arm of a group, where he earned ‘hundreds of thousands’.
His green card has seemingly since been revoked, information which has been joked about in the past by Conor McGregor.
Abdelaziz has also banned his roster (other than Kayla Harrison) from appearing on The MMA Hour, following a physical altercation with Helwani at UFC 271. The podcast host recalled this story in an episode dating eight months ago.
He stated: “He said, ‘Leave my fighters name out of your f*ckin’ mouth’. And I said— do you remember what I said? ‘And what? What are you gonna do about it?“
“I had a backpack, I dropped it down. I said, ‘Please come over here and tell me what you’re gonna do about it? And what?’ Like, there has to be an ‘and’, right?”
Any official statement regarding Makhachev’s next opponent is yet to be confirmed by the UFC. MMA enthusiasts will have to wait patiently to see when the Lightweight belt will next be fought for.
Do you believe the claims made by Ariel Helwani? Would you like to see Islam Makhachev against Charles Oliveira next March? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images