The leading journalist in MMA media is headed to a new home. It was announced by Ariel Helwani and ESPN that the two sides have a struck a deal, and Helwani will now move from MMA Fighting to ESPN. Helwani’s new deal with ESPN will also set him up to host alongside Chael Sonnen, for “Ariel and The Bad Guy”, a 30-minute podcast that will launch on June 20.
Helwani stated in a press release that joining ESPN was a “dream come true” and that he has loved all things ESPN since he was a kid.
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
In addition to his new show with Sonnen, Helwani will continue to host “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show”, as well as contribute as a MMA reporter for ESPN across their digital media and television platforms. “Ariel and The Bad Guy” is set to debut on June 20 on ESPN+ with new episodes debuting every Wednesday, and special episodes being available before and after fight night events.
ESPN released their own statement on the new partnership, calling Helwani a dynamic and talented insider.
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.
As for Helwani’s new co-host, Chael Sonnen’s reaction, it was one in such a way that only Sonnen could say it.
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….
Helwani now joins Brett Okamoto as lead MMA journalists for ESPN, and certainly changes the landscape in MMA media.