It appears that there is a new feud brewing in the MMA world, with those one being between Ali Abdelaziz/Dominance MMA and ESPN.
Everything kicked off when ESPN reporter Ariel Helwani suggested that Leon Edwards and Gilbert Burns, who is associated with Dominance MMA, fight for the next shot at UFC Welterweight Champion Kamaru Usman.
“First of all, the disrespect that Mr. Leon Edwards has had to endure over the past year is disgusting, really disgusting,” Helwani said (via Zane Simon of Blloody Elbow). “Just because he doesn’t puff his chest out, just because he doesn’t have a manager writing his tweets, just because he doesn’t go out there and endear himself to all the media doesn’t mean that this guy shouldn’t be fighting for a title. Number one: this man has won eight in a row. Eight in a row! He’s won eight in a row. Eight in a row, right? He was supposed to fight Tyron Woodley on March 21st. He had that opportunity taken away from him. And, by the way, when Masvidal couldn’t come to terms with the UFC on July 11th, they went to Edwards first! He had to turn it down because he didn’t have a training situation, and it was on three weeks notice. God forbid Leon Edwards wants more than three weeks to train for his fight. A title fight! Lord knows if he’s ever going to get another chance to fight for the title. I respect the fact that he said, ‘Give me a little more time.’ So, what about this: Usman just fought, he wants to spend time with his daughter, he’s earned that opportunity, it’s been a very hectic few months for him. Let him chill out until the end of the year. In the meantime, they’re gonna go back to Abu Dhabi in September, what’s wrong with Burns vs. Edwards on one of those cards as a number one contender fight. Burns has won four in a row at welterweight, six overall. Four is not equal to eight. You know what I’m saying? Four not equal to eight. Why does Gilbert Burns deserve a shot over Leon Edwards? I don’t get it. Because he got a title shot first? Okay, tell that to Karo Parisyan, who was supposed to fight Matt Hughes 15 years ago. C’mon, not cool. It’s not fair to Leon Edwards. I don’t get it. I feel like I’m living in some kind of bizzaro world here with all you people.”
Those comments from Helwani would instigate a social media battle between Edwards and Burns, but it would also lead to something much bigger when Abdelaziz would issue a ban between Dominance MMA and ESPN.
All @espnmma you have been banned from talking to any Dominance fighters because you have a reporter who’s targeting my champions. You need an immediate investigation for corruption today.— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) July 13, 2020
I love what @espnmma brings to the table. They have great reporters Brett Okomoto, Marc Raimondi, Jeff Wagenheim. I have no issue with these guys but enough is enough.— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) July 13, 2020
There has been no comment yet from either Helwani or ESPN on the ban placed against them by Abdelaziz.