Longtime MMA journalist Ariel Helwani announces departure from ESPN

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New York: Long-time mixed martial arts (MMA) reporter Ariel Helwani is leaving ESPN for greener pastures. That news — first revealed by OutSports earlier Sunday afternoon — was just confirmed by Helwani himself in a 10-minute video posted to Instagram.

The MMA reporter confirmed ESPN did offer him a new contract but decided to pursue other opportunities.

Helwani issued a statement on the split and said it was “100 percent my decision” to leave.

Helwani gained most of his notoriety in the MMA industry during his tenure at MMAFighting.com, where he spent the bulk of his career so far. The Montreal-born New Jersey resident is a 10-time winner of the “MMA Journalist of the Year” award from the fan-voted World MMA Awards. His resume also includes work for FOX Sports’ UFC coverage, as well as SiriusXM Radio.

When Helwani moved to ESPN in 2018, he began co-hosting a new weekly program on ESPN+, “Ariel & The Bad Guy” with Chael Sonnen. He also hosted his “Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” program to begin his ESPN stint. Once the coronavirus pandemic hit, his Monday show evolved into a talk show with Daniel Cormier called “DC & Helwani.”

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