Helwani and Askren in Twitter battle. Are MMA athletes above criticism?

Posted: April 12, 2012 in Commentary/Opinion, Latest news
Tags: , ,

For those of you that listen to Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, you know that Helwani was recently critical of Bellator Champ Ben Askren’s fighting style. As you may know, while Askren is a dominant champ with an undefeated record, the 2x D-I National Champion wrestler’s style leaves some fans yawning in their seats. And apparently Helwani’s jab on his show was enough to trigger a response from Askren, and a counter from Helwani on twitter. Here’s a transcript from MixedMartialArts.com:

Ben Askren ‏ @Benaskren
@arielhelwani Are you mad at me bc I was cooking lunch during your interview? Or bc I said something to the Canadian fans?

Ben Askren ‏ @Benaskren
Hey @arielhelwani I am still waiting on your expert advice. What strategy would have helped me finish the fight?

kmax1940 ‏ @kmax1940
Hit harder or submit him.

Ben Askren ‏ @Benaskren
easier said than done

jengro71 ‏ @Jengro71
I am sure Ben does not have guts to face you on the air

Ariel Helwani ‏ @arielhelwani
@benaskren never even responded to my invitation :(

Ben Askren ‏ @Benaskren
you never invited me and you never answered my question

Ariel Helwani ‏ @arielhelwani
yes I did. Yesterday.

Ben Askren ‏ @Benaskren
well I invite you to go in a cage with me. When you do that I will do your show. Otherwise kiss my ass.

Ariel Helwani ‏ @arielhelwani
well, that response is disappointing. I stated my opinion and was more than happy to have you come on to tell me what’s what.

Ariel Helwani ‏ @arielhelwani
anyhow, all the best to you.

Josh C ‏ @_allmyfriends
Ariel, be careful if you get in a cage with him…make sure there’s rounds, or you might die of old age.

@Swikshz ‏ @Swikshz
its “sexy” now to talk about finishing fights. How about learning to wrestle? I blame the opponents lack of game.

Darren ‏ @PHIGHT5r
Fighter challenges media member… why not have an essay competition… #smartliketractor

Regardless of who’s side your on, why does virtually every MMA fighter respond with the “hey, you aren’t man enough to be a fighter so you can’t say anything” excuse when under any type of criticism? And while that’s true to some degree, why are MMA fighter’s above criticism? Sure we don’t know what it’s like to step into the cage, but does that inhibit us from having an opinion? If that’s the case, I can assume that they (MMA fighters) don’t ever criticize the athletes that they watch on TV. In every sport you’re going to get some negative feedback, whether you’re a quarterback that throws an interception in overtime to lose a playoff game (e.g. Favre in 2009 against the Giants) or if you’re Chris Webber calling an ill-timed time out in a national championship game. It’s just a part of life and everyone needs to get thicker skin. That all said, I will side with the fighter’s here in regards to all of those “keyboard warriors” that seem so hell-bent on throwing out their expert critiques on message boards and youtube videos. Guys, knock it off. If I see one more clown criticize Anderson Silva b/c “he keeps his left elbow too low when throwing a lead leg low kick” I’m going to kill someone.

So as long as the media is respectful in their criticism, I don’t see what all the hub bub is about.

Stay classy San Diego,


Check out our exclusive interviews with both Ariel Helwani (part 1, part 2) and Ben Askren.

  1. […] journalism, but the feuds he has with fighters. He has had past issues with Quinton Jackson, Ben Askren, and Nick Diaz. He’s a reporter, and reporters don’t always say the nicest things about whom […]

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