The UFC announced a surprise interim heavyweight title fight between Ciryl Gane and Derrick Lewis. The event will be headlining UFC 265 on the 7th of August. The announcement came just two days after Gane’s victory over Alexander Volkov in the main event of UFC Vegas 30.
However, UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou was livid. ‘The Predator’ wasn’t happy with the promotion setting up an interim title fight just three months after his fight. And they had also not set up an interim title fight will he was knocking out his opponents in seconds.
Famed MMA reporter Ariel Helwani shed more light on this issue and held Hunter Campbell, UFC’s lawyer who has several other responsibilities, accountable. He stated that UFC President Dana White wasn’t behind the setting up of an interim belt for Gane vs Lewis.
Ariel Helwani posts a barrage of tweets
Helwani first explained why he felt it was Campbell and not White: “Regarding today’s interim news, you’d be shocked how often they threaten this &/or how often they threaten to strip. And while most of the criticism has been directed towards Dana White – he is the face after all – it’s really been the M.O. of Hunter Campbell since he took over.”
He then explained who Hunter Campbell was: “For those that don’t know, Campbell is the UFC’s chief business officer. He took over shortly after the sale. He does most, if not all the deals these days. Some love him – he’s a lot more like Lorenzo in that he isn’t emotional – but he also threatens to strip constantly.
Helwani felt that Campbell was the third most important person in the UFC. He wrote, “Campbell is the “lawyer” White often refers to. Hardly ever mentions him by name. Not sure why. He’s way more valuable to UFc than just being a lawyer. In fact, I’d argue he’s the third most important person in the company behind Ari and White. Again, he does all the big deals.”
He finally concluded, “Think of him as the UFC’s general manager if they were a sports team. Yet, he never speaks publicly or has to explain moves like a GM would from time to time. Good gig! Anyway, some enjoy dealing with him but this is right up his alley. It happens way more than fans think.”
There is a reason why Helwani has been tweeting this freely and expressing his freedom of speech. He recently left ESPN which has ties with the UFC, and has now joined several other broadcasting companies. He is no more held by a lease, he is on his own now.