Chael Sonnen to Ariel Helwani: ‘Quit Calling Yourself a Journalist’

Image Credit: Winslow Townson | USA TODAY Sports

Chael Sonnen went on a complete rant on episode six of his podcast “You’re Welcome! With Chael Sonnen.

When speaking to guest, Front Row Brian, Sonnen discussed his personal relationship with Ariel Helwani. Sonnen spoke about the intricate details of his relationship with Helwani behind-the-scenes, Helwani’s firing from FOX, as well as telling Helwani to ‘stop calling himself a journalist.’

As per usual, Chael Sonnen didn’t hold back. Here’s what he had to say:

“When Ariel got fired, and it was very quiet, I know there was a cover, when he got fired I was in Brazil. I was filming ‘The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil,’ I had no phone, my phone doesn’t work over there, I’m in a different country, I don’t have an international plan. So I had to go seek out a cell phone when I hear about this and I call him. I get a hold of him, see how I can help, to see is there somebody at the UFC I can call? Is there somebody at FOX I can call? But what can I do to help this guy? Not just because we’re friends, but we’re partners, we’re on the show together and I don’t think he fully understands what that means, I don’t think he grasps the concept of having a partner and what you do for a fellow teammate. So I helped, when he was in that jam, I helped. My contribution was small, I’ll be the first to admit that, but I can get a hold of people, I can get a hold of the head of FOX, I can get a hold of Dana White, I can talk to the right people and share my opinion.

That was one of the reasons Brian, because of that, and I talked to you when I was in Brazil, and I said ‘man, this is what’s going on with Ariel, and we need to help him’ and you went to Twitter and put up some favorable stuff, but that was one of the things when I brought this up to him, and I said ‘Ariel, you were really kicking me when I was down.’

You know, he comes at me and he asks me do I wish I would’ve handled it differently and if I had, would things be different? Which is a ridiculous question, how would you possibly know? How would you possibly know the answer to that question? I could play the lottery all of the time if I could predict that past you weirdo. But he asked me that and I said ‘Ariel, you have to understand man, for the situation I was in, which was wrong, I did everything right.’ Not only did I step away from everything, and when I walked in I said ‘I did it.’

I said ‘no, I don’t agree with you, that things could have been handled differently.’ At any rate, it just bugged me and I had explained this concept to him of what a partner is and he goes ‘oh that’s my job, I’m a journalist…’ Stop, stop right there. I said ‘Ariel, that’s why you piss everybody off.’ Quit calling yourself a journalist, I don’t know Brian, what a journalist is, okay? And maybe this is my problem, maybe I need to look it up.”

 

“The problem comes when he calls himself a journalist.” Sonnen continued. And I told him that, I said Ariel ‘quit calling yourself that.’ He went to college for it, he got a degree in it, so he clings to that word and I said ‘man, you’re not a journalist. You don’t look into things, you don’t do investigative reporting. You never do. You just parrot what somebody else says and none of that is a bad thing, but that’s what you do. And when you pretend you’re a journalist, and you pretend you’re something that you’re not and you’re wrong constantly.’ And I’m not talking about inside scoop or who’s fighting, that stuff changes all the time, you just report what you’re hearing. He gets it wrong all the time, he’ll get facts and details wrong and I told him this. I brought that up in my own situation, I said ‘man, you reported this all wrong and you always do. You’ve done this to other guys.’ And he goes ‘well that’s what I was told by … and then he’ll cite his source. That’s not journalism, that’s what a parrot does. A parrot hears something and he repeats it, a journalist goes and gets the info. and gets it right.

He does a very good job, he’s made a good career for himself, this isn’t meant to be a ‘kick him’ session, but that aspect really bothers me and he and I really had it out on my first ever podcast and we scrapped it, we never used it. I called him, after the argument I called him up and said, ‘ Ariel, listen, we both understand what ratings are, you and I murdered each other in that and I recorded the whole thing. What do you want me to do?’ And he goes ‘well, Chael, off the record means off the record.’ He said ‘it’s your show and if you want to use it go ahead, but I’d rather you didn’t.’ And so I gotta respect that and I said ‘no man, I won’t use any of that’ and I didn’t. But my points were still good and while I was talking to him and we were hashing everything out and I brought that up to him. I go, ‘man, we’re partners, when you got fired from FOX, I’m in a third-world country, I go through the work to get a phone so I can jump on it and call people on your behalf and you, when the tables are turned, start taking shots at me and telling the story in a way that it didn’t happen.’ The way it happened was enough problems for me, it wasn’t a great story for me. And this guy’s my partner? C’mon man.