Following hot on the heels of ESPN’s $150 million media rights deal with the UFC, the broadcaster has now swooped in to sign respected MMA journalist Ariel Helwani.
Helwani will leave mmafighting.com for ESPN in June, where he’ll become the co-host of a new weekly MMA show alongside Chael Sonnen on ESPN+ called, ‘Ariel & The Bad Guy.’
The 30-minute show will focus on breaking down the latest news, developments and upcoming fights every Wednesday, starting from June 20th, while there will also be special episodes before and after major MMA events.
Helwani’s current ‘MMA Hour’ podcast will also continue on, though it will be rebranded to become, ‘Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.’
Meanwhile, Helwani will also be kept busy asa a reporter for ESPN on both it’s digital media and TV platforms.
“For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to work at ESPN,” Helwani said in a statement. “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.”
“Ariel is a dynamic and talented insider, whose insights and acumen will expand and enhance our multimedia coverage of the mixed martial arts world,” Rob King, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media, said. “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.”