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Mixed Martial Arts Insider Ariel Helwani Joins ESPN

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Award-winning multimedia journalist will cover MMA across ESPN media, have his own podcast and co-host with Chael Sonnen “Ariel & The Bad Guy,” a new original weekly show on ESPN+

Award-winning mixed martial arts (MMA) 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 MMAFighting.com.  He has been covering MMA professionally since 2006, is a seven-time winner of “MMA Journalist of the Year” at the World MMA Awards and a previous contributor to MMA coverage for Fox Sports. Born in Montreal, Canada, he is a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications.

Helwani said, “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.”

“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.

Rob King, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Original Content, Newsgathering & Digital Media, said: “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.”

On teaming with Helwani for their new show, Chael Sonnen said: “I’m pumped. 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….”

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About ESPN+

ESPN+ is the first-ever multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment in partnership with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks. This includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, Grand Slam tennis, Top Rank boxing, PGA Tour golf, college sports, international rugby, cricket, the full library of ESPN Films (including 30 for 30) and more. Fans can subscribe to ESPN+ for just $4.99 a month (or $49.99 per year).

ESPN+ is an integrated part of the completely redesigned ESPN App. Already the leading sports app, the new ESPN App is the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans and is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation. With a richer, increasingly more personalized experience, the new ESPN App curates all of ESPN’s incredible content into an experience unique to each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com.

Contact: Ardi Dwornik, [email protected], 646-567-5612