World renowned MMA journalist and host Ariel Helwani will be leaving MMA Fighting and join ESPN in June to cover the sport. Helwani was a journalist at SB Nation’s MMAFighting, host of ‘The MMA Hour’ and ‘The MMA Beat’ on YouTube.
Helwani will serve as a co-host of ‘Ariel & The Bad Guy’, a new weekly MMA program on ESPN+, alongwith former two-time UFC middleweight title challenger and current Bellator light heavyweight Chael Sonnen. He will continue to host ongoing podcast ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show’ and work as a reporter for ESPN across their digital media and television platforms. (via Instagram):
Helwani was born in Montreal, Canada. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. Helwani 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.
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 SportsCentre 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.”
Chael Sonnen on working with Helwani for their new show 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….”
ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media Rob King 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.”