Thursday, May 17, 2018

In a genius move, ESPN has hired Ariel Helwani for several roles, including co-hosting an original weekly show on ESPN+ with Chael Sonnen. Ardi Dwornik has the story for ESPN Media Zone.

Award-winning mixed martial arts journalist and host Ariel Helwani will join ESPN in June to cover the MMA world. Helwani will have several roles at ESPN, including co-host of “Ariel & The Bad Guy” a new weekly MMA program on ESPN+, host of ongoing podcast “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show”, and reporter for MMA across ESPN digital media and television platforms.

Helwani joins ESPN from SB Nation’s He has been covering MMA professionally since 2006, is a six-time winner of “MMA Journalist of the Year” at the World MMA Awards and a previous contributor to MMA coverage for Fox Sports and Sirius XM Radio. Born in Montreal, Canada, he is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

“For as long as I can remember, my dream has been to work at ESPN,” said Helwani. “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 and The Bad Guy” will team Helwani with professional fighter and ESPN MMA analyst, Chael Sonnen, for a fast-paced 30-minute weekly breakdown of the top stories, developments, and upcoming fights. New episodes will be available on ESPN+ each Wednesday, beginning June 20, and there will be special episodes before and after major mixed martial arts events.

“I’m pumped,” said Sonnen. “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….”