Ariel Helwani Joins ESPN & Takes ‘The MMA Hour’ With Him

Ariel Helwani will make the move to ESPN, and he’s joining a prominent personality:

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Veteran MMA reporter Ariel Helwani will be joining Chael Sonnen at ESPN for MMA commentating duties, Helwani and ESPN announced on Thursday.

Helwani, who will leave behind his position at MMAFighting.com, where he hosted the popular show ‘The MMA Hour,’ was voted ‘MMA Journalist of the Year’ at the World MMA Awards six times. Helwani will take over in his new position next month, where he will host a show called “Ariel & The Bad Guy” with Sonnen on the networks streaming service ESPN+. He will also take “The MMA Hour” with him, where it will be titled “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show.”

He covered the UFC on FOX a few years ago but was removed from his post after politics and issues with UFC forced him out of his position.

Rob King, ESPN’s senior vice president of original content, newsgathering and digital media, was extremely complimentary of Helwani in a new release via MMAjunkie, praising the veteran MMA journalist’s addition to ESPN’s MMA team:

“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.”

Helwani and Sonnen’s move to ESPN follows the UFC’s new media rights deal with the network, which will officially begin in 2019. The UFC will no longer feature live content on FOX or FOX Sports, and will instead rebrand those Fight Night cards as UFC on ESPN.

Helwani himself released a statement on the announcement and expressed his excitement over the move to ESPN:

“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.”

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Chael Sonnen Says UFC Had to Cut Yair Rodriguez

Chael Sonnen says Yair Rodriguez violated a policy and had to be released as a result. Fans and media members were stunned when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White announced that the promotion had released Rodriguez. “El Pan…

Chael Sonnen says Yair Rodriguez violated a policy and had to be released as a result. Fans and media members were stunned when Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White announced that the promotion had released Rodriguez. “El Pantera” was highly touted by the UFC as the next Mexican star. While he lost badly to […]

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Chael Sonnen Says Fedor Emelianenko’s Calm Demeanor is a Gimmick

Chael Sonnen isn’t buying into Fedor Emelianenko’s persona. Sonnen and Emelianenko are set to collide in the semi-finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Sonnen earned his spot when he defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson v…

Chael Sonnen isn’t buying into Fedor Emelianenko’s persona. Sonnen and Emelianenko are set to collide in the semi-finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. Sonnen earned his spot when he defeated Quinton “Rampage” Jackson via unanimous decision. It only took Emelianenko 48 seconds to punch his ticket when he knocked out Frank Mir. It didn’t […]

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Ryan Bader Says Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen is a Tossup

Ryan Bader believes predicting the outcome of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen is tough. Emelianenko recently earned his spot on the semi-finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. He knocked out Frank Mir in 48 seconds and will now meet Sonnen l…

Ryan Bader believes predicting the outcome of Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen is tough. Emelianenko recently earned his spot on the semi-finals of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix. He knocked out Frank Mir in 48 seconds and will now meet Sonnen later this year. Sonnen moved on to the semi-finals when he defeated Quinton Jackson […]

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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen Early Betting Odds Released

Arguably the biggest fight in the history of Bellator MMA has been set, which is Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen. As seen in the main event of last Saturday’s Bellator 198 event at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on the Paramount Network, t…

Arguably the biggest fight in the history of Bellator MMA has been set, which is Fedor Emelianenko vs. Chael Sonnen. As seen in the main event of last Saturday’s Bellator 198 event at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois on the Paramount Network, the MMA Legend finished former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir with strikes […]

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Chael Sonnen Says Fedor Emelianenko’s Fights Were Fixed in Japan

Chael Sonnen’s gift of gab is now targeting Fedor Emelianenko. In the main event of Bellator 198, Emelianenko got back in the win column against Frank Mir. “The Last Emperor” earned a 48-second TKO victory to advance to the Bellator H…

Chael Sonnen’s gift of gab is now targeting Fedor Emelianenko. In the main event of Bellator 198, Emelianenko got back in the win column against Frank Mir. “The Last Emperor” earned a 48-second TKO victory to advance to the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals. It was his first victory in the United States since Nov. […]

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