Tony Khan, the owner of AEW, has firmly dismissed the recent rumour that he and his father were considering buying the Bellator MMA fighting promotion.
The speculation originated from an episode of Ariel Helwani’s podcast, The MMA Hour, where it was reported that the Khans had shown interest in purchasing Bellator, arguably the second-largest MMA promotion after UFC’‹.
During a media call ahead of the AEW x NJPW: Forbidden Door II pay-per-view event, Khan strongly refuted these claims. “I was surprised to see that report. I haven’t had any conversations with them about that, so I don’t know what that was about. My father hasn’t had any conversations with them either,” Khan stated.
He expressed his bafflement over the origins of the rumour, adding that he didn’t even know who officially owned the Bellator promotion’‹.
The Friction Between Khan and Helwani
Khan didn’t mince words when it came to addressing Ariel Helwani’s role in disseminating the rumour. “Was that something Ariel Helwani reported? Okay, well it would not be the first inaccurate thing Ariel Helwani has reported. That is completely inaccurate, but that’s Ariel Helwani for you,” Khan retorted.
His words served to underline an ongoing feud between the two, sparked by an interview Helwani had previously conducted with Khan. The MMA/Wrestling journalist had labelled this interaction as one of his worst interviews, as Khan had refused to speak about All Out 2022’‹.
Helwani’s subsequent appearance on WWE SmackDown in his native Canada further exacerbated the situation. Khan took this opportunity to brand him as biased and a fraud, a claim that became a topic of discussion backstage at the WWE Elimination Chamber in Montreal’‹.
What Does the Future Hold?
The recent controversy has only served to underscore the complex relationships within the world of MMA and wrestling promotions.
While it’s clear that Tony Khan and his father have no intention of acquiring Bellator, it remains to be seen how Khan’s public dispute with Helwani will evolve.
Given the businessman’s blunt dismissal of the rumour and the pointed criticism of Helwani, it’s safe to say that the conversation surrounding these figures and their respective roles within the industry is far from over.