Ariel Helwani is one of the most popular and successful MMA journalists in the world today. With almost 1 million followers on Twitter, separate ESPN shows with UFC legends Daniel Cormier and Chael Sonnen, and arguably the hottest guest list in the sport for his video interviews, Helwani’s name and face have become synonymous with ESPN’s coverage of the UFC over the last three years. But Helwani announced via Instagram on Sunday his somewhat shocking departure from the company.
Helwani posted, “Some personal news: June 15 will be my last day at ESPN. Allow me to explain. I have some VERY exciting news to share about my future in due time. This was 100% my decision. For now, though, I just wanted to share some words on my time at ESPN.”
You can watch his video below.
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UFC World and Journalists React to Helwani
The UFC world reacted to the news, as did the community of journalists both inside and outside the sport.
Former UFC women’s featherweight champ and current Bellator MMA champ Cris Cyborg commented, “Best reporter in the sport! I look forward to coming on your new platform”.
UFC star Michelle Waterson commented on his Instagram post, “Can’t wait to see what the future holds for you!! Congratulations on the next chapter of your journey”.
Popular YouTuber Kazeem posted the same way, “You know we riding wherever you roll to bro!”
Journalist Pablo S. Torre posted, “You’re a terrific teammate, man, and I’m jealous of whoever gets to work with you next.”
BT Sport’s Chamatkar Sandhu posted, “I’m very excited to see what you do next. The hardcore fans, the OG fans will always follow you and your work regardless of platform.”
Pro wrestling journalist Renee Paquette posted, “Excited to see what you’ve got planned!”
The Athletic’s MMA editor Greg Rosenstein posted, “End of an era. Can’t wait to see you crush it at the next spot.”
MMA writer Chuck Mindelhall posted, “I am so excited to discover what next chapter happens.”
MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck posted, “Congrats on a great three years with ESPN, Ariel. Excited to see the next chapter unfold.”
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Helwani Might Be Headed to The Action Network
Helwani did not immediately announce his next gig, but NY Post reported a few hours after he made his Instagram announcement that Helwani might end up joining The Action Network.
Per NY Post, “If he ends up there, he will be the betting platform’s MMA expert. They have already hired ex-ESPNers Darren Rovell and golf writer Jason Sobel. Helwani is expected to also work for other entities, with Dan Le Batard’s Meadowlark being a possibility. Outkick first reported Helwani was leaving ESPN.”
No matter where he ends up, Helwani is likely to continue working in the MMA world in some capacity.
He’s one of the sport’s most popular figures, and that’s likely to continue no matter where he ends up after leaving ESPN.
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