Popular MMA journalist Ariel Helwani has announced that he is leaving ESPN.
Helwani made a name for himself on MMAFighting.com. AOL acquired the website back in 2009 and in the years that followed, Helwani established himself as one of the premier journalists in the MMA space. In 2011, the site was sold to VOX Media, allowing for some more video content such as The MMA Beat, which featured Helwani, Luke Thomas, and Mike Chiappetta. Eventually, Chuck Midenhall and other names began to join the program.
In June 2018, Helwani joined ESPN. There, he was known for Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, DC & Helwani, and Ariel & The Bad Guy on ESPN+.
Helwani has decided that it’s time to go in a different direction. The MMA reporter took to his Instagram account to announce he’s walking away from ESPN effective June 15. Here’s his video statement (h/t MMAJunkie.com).
“It’s been a great three-year run – there’s no hard feelings here. ESPN did offer me a new contract. I signed for three years back in 2018. They offered me a new contract. I was given the opportunity to look at what was out there for me and I found a lot of exciting opportunities and a lot of things I think the fans will be pumped about, as I am as well.”
ESPN issued a brief statement on Helwani’s departure to Outkick.com.
“We thank Ariel for his many contributions to ESPN’s MMA coverage and beyond. We had hoped to have him continue in that role and made him an offer to remain with ESPN. He chose to explore new opportunities and we wish him the best.”
The New York Post is reporting that Helwani will be working with The Action Network. In addition, it’s been reported that Helwani will also be working with other entities.