It’s not often that anyone in the MMA media gets to do a video interview that resembles a WWE promo, but this is probably the closest Ariel Helwani is ever going to get to feeling like Mean Gene Okerlund while on the job. Especially once Paul Daley comes on the scene, all Helwani is missing is a tuxedo and a sweet mustache, as well as perhaps a charmingly befuddled expression. Say what you will about “King Mo” Lawal and his chances against Gegard Mousasi, but the man is an entertainer. Anybody who spends that much time and energy thinking about and studying entrances is okay by us.
The only thing we could really do without is his fixation on his own “haters.” Maybe it’s his weak attempt to paint himself as a pro wrestling-style heel, but talking about how many people hate you is a little like going on a first date and talking about how many psycho exes you have. It doesn’t take long before that becomes an annoying personality trait, and one that doesn’t really achieve the desired end.
If you really want to be a villain, do it the old-fashioned way. Try talking some smack about the local sports teams in every city you visit, maybe disrespect a national icon or two. Or, if you’re short on time, just manhandle Helwani during the interview, calling him a pencil-necked geek and threatening to show his wife what a real man looks like. Trust me, Ariel has watched enough pro wrestling in his life to know exactly how to play along.