Longtime MMA journalist Ariel Helwani Leaving ESPN
Ariel Helwani, one of the most recognizable journalists in MMA is moving on from ESPN. Helwani announced that after failing to reach terms on a new contract with the cable network, he will part ways with the company on June 15. Helwani issued a statement on the split and said it was “100 percent my decision” to leave.
“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,” the network said in a statement to Outkick.com. “He chose to explore new opportunities, and we wish him the best.”
Helwani gained most of his notoriety in the MMA industry during his tenure at MMAFighting.com, where he spent the bulk of his career so far. The Montreal-born New Jersey resident is a 10-time winner of the “MMA Journalist of the Year” award from the fan-voted World MMA Awards. His resume also includes work for FOX Sports’ UFC coverage, as well as SiriusXM Radio.
When Helwani moved to ESPN in 2018, he began co-hosting a new weekly program on ESPN+, “Ariel & The Bad Guy” with Chael Sonnen. He also hosted his “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” program to begin his ESPN stint. Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, his Monday show evolved into a talk show with Daniel Cormier called “DC & Helwani.”
“It’s been a great three-year run – there are no hard feelings here,” Helwani said in a video statement on Instagram. “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.”
Helwani said he’s “not quite ready” to announce what his future will hold. Outkick reported he’s had discussions with Meadowlark Media and Showtime.
The story originally appeared on MMA Junkie