Ariel Helwani Joins ESPN, Leaving MMAFighting

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Ariel Helwani
Image Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports

ESPN is taking its voyage into Mixed Martial Arts very seriously, as evident by today’s announcement that they are bringing on the most recognized journalist in the sport, Ariel Helwani, into the fold on the heels of their $150 million per year deal with the UFC. Who better to break the big news than Helwani himself, who took to Twitter to make the announcement:

Helwani linked to a press release by ESPN’s Ardi Dwornik that announced Helwani will co-host a morning show with Chael Sonnen, “Ariel & The Bad Guy,” a weekly program that will air on ESPN+, as well as serve as a reporter across ESPN’s television networks and digital media platforms. This hiring will also bring an end to Helwani’s near-decade long tenure as the face of MMAFighting.

Helwani is a seven-time MMA Journalist of the Year award winner and is seen as one of the most trusted sources of information in the sport. Initial reports state that Helwani’s popular weekly program, The MMA Hour, will be rebranded “The Ariel Helwani Show.” There is no word yet on which of ESPN’s platforms this program will air. What is for certain is that Helwani is looking ahead with gratitude and life-long fulfillment:

“I remember watching the channel(s) as a kid and dreaming of working there someday,” Helwani tweeted. “It’s still a bit hard to believe this dream is actually coming true.”

Will Helwani joining ESPN Help the Sport of MMA?