Ariel Helwani’s tenure with ESPN will come to a close on June 15th. As the most significant face of MMA media, Helwani admitted that he chose not to re-sign his contract and head elsewhere while he could have stayed at ESPN.
In 2018, Ariel left MMA Fighting to join the worldwide network of sports. At ESPN, Helwani took on multiple roles. He co-piloted a two-person show, the “Bad Guy” Chael Sonnen for Ariel & The Bad Guy,” which was a weekly 30-minute digital show for ESPN+. Additionally, Helwani held a role as the co-host for “DC & Helwani,” a podcast featuring him and former UFC double champion Daniel Cormier.
Ariel Helwani Explains Leaving ESPN
He took to Instagram to explain his reasoning for leaving the company. Although Helwani was offered a contract renewal, he decided to go to ESPN to find a new position.
“Some personal news: June 15 will be my last day at ESPN,” said Helwani.
“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.”
Explaining the Departure
He further explained that his departure from the platform was peaceful. And that there is no bitterness between either he or ESPN brass.
“I know sometimes people leave jobs, networks, and they leave with sour grapes. They leave mad, they leave wanting to torch the bridge on the way out. I’m not gonna do that,” Helwani said.
“I have a lot of respect for what ESPN stands for and a lot of respect for the people there and I’m truly grateful for what they gave me and the opportunities they gave me. I’d be lying if I said I got there and thought that I would leave three years later, but this is a crazy world and a crazy business, and once I was given the opportunity to look at what else was out there, I found a lot of things that really got me excited.”
Potential Landing Spot
As of now, Ariel has yet to share his new destination. However, The New York Post has hinted that various networks have plans to sign the latest free agent. The Post’s Andrew Marchand indicated that Helwani could be headed to the Action Network, which features news and analysis focused on the sports betting landscape in the United States.