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June 7, 2016

UFC lifts ban on Ariel Helwani, MMAFighting.com

Two days after the UFC removed MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani, E. Casey Leydon, and Esther Lin just prior to the UFC 199 main event in Inglewood, California, the promotion has lifted what Helwani said was a lifetime ban from attending events as a credentialed media member. The UFC released the following statement on Monday evening.

"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.

UFC's goal as the world's leading mixed martial arts promotion is to cultivate interest in its world-class athletes and events, and deliver for the fans. We will continue to introduce this sport and its athletes to new fans across the world, and we will do so by working alongside media across all platforms."

This news follows Dana White's assertion to TMZ that Helwani would not be permitted to cover UFC events on-site for as long as he was president. The ban apparently stemmed from Helwani reporting the return of Brock Lesnar on UFC 200, which was published before the UFC's own planned announcement during last Saturday's pay-per-view. Heavy backlash ensued against the UFC by multiple mainstream media outlets for the promotion's actions.

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