Ariel Helwani has been a mixed martial arts journalist for quite some time now. Now the reporter has come forward with a few final words on his departure from MMA Fighting.
Helwani was once the mixed martial arts insider for Fox Sports 1’s UFC Tonight. However, the journalist had a falling out from the position after having his credentials removed by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) for reporting on Brock Lesnar’s return to the octagon for UFC 200 just hours before the promotion planned to release the news.
Helwani would go on to regain his credentials, but found himself working for MMA Fighting this time around. After working for the news organization for nine years and running the highly popular podcast show The MMA Hour, Helwani is now set to work for ESPN.
Here is ESPN’s official statement on the matter:
Award-winning mixed martial arts (MMA) journalist and host Ariel Helwani will join ESPN in June to cover the MMA world. Helwani will have several roles at ESPN, including: co-host of “Ariel & The Bad Guy,” a new weekly MMA program on ESPN+; host of ongoing podcast “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” and reporter for MMA across ESPN digital media and television platforms.
Helwani joins ESPN from SB Nation’s MMAFighting.com. He has been covering MMA professionally since 2006, is a seven-time winner of “MMA Journalist of the Year” at the World MMA Awards and a previous contributor to MMA coverage for Fox Sports. Born in Montreal, Canada, he is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Helwani said, “For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to work at ESPN. I know the term ‘dream come true’ is often overused, but this is truly that for me. Growing up in Montreal we didn’t get ESPN, but any time my family would travel down south I would stay in our hotel room as long as possible watching the morning SportsCenter on loop. I’ve loved all things ESPN since I was a kid, and in all honesty, it still feels a bit surreal that I am joining the gold standard in sports media. I couldn’t be more excited to get started and am extremely thankful for the opportunity.”
“Ariel and The Bad Guy” will team Helwani with professional fighter and ESPN MMA analyst, Chael Sonnen, for a fast-paced 30-minute weekly breakdown of the top stories, developments and upcoming fights. New episodes will be available on ESPN+ each Wednesday, beginning June 20, and there will be special episodes before and after major mixed martial arts events.
Rob King, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media, said: “Ariel is a dynamic and talented insider, whose insights and acumen will expand and enhance our multimedia coverage of the mixed martial arts world. Pairing Ariel and Chael, the insider and the fighter, on ESPN+ is going to make for an energetic and engaging show that will be must-see for any MMA fan.”
On teaming with Helwani for their new show, Chael Sonnen said: “I’m pumped. Fans are going to love the show Ariel and I are doing. And like they say… You can’t spell MMA on ESPN without C-H-A-E-L! Ummmmm… Wait a sec….”
Ariel Helwani hosted the final episode of The MMA Hour on Monday, June 11. Taking to Twitter, the journalist has now offered a few final words on his departure from the show.
Check it out below:
“Peace … I’m outta here. #themmahour”