Helwani said on social media that the decision to leave was “100% his.” The 38-year-old Montreal native signed on with ESPN in June 2018 and will finish his tenure on June 15.
Helwani is regarded as perhaps the top MMA journalist of all-time, so him pursuing “a lot of exciting opportunities” is major news. ESPN apparently made an offer to keep Helwani, but he elected not to take it.
Around the sports media world, many fellow journalists used this afternoon as the opportunity to give Helwani his flowers.
Also, sports media reporters Andrew Marchand and Bobby Burack each had the same message about Helwani’s future: keep an eye on the Action Network.
One possibility for Ariel Helwani is the Action Network, according to sources.
Helwani is expected to work for a couple of different outlets, post-ESPN. The Action Network is the home of Darren Rovell.
— Andrew Marchand (@AndrewMarchand) June 6, 2021
Helwani has spoken to a few different outlets. One to keep an eye on as a possibility: The Action Network. https://t.co/GSni6v73YC
— Bobby Burack (@burackbobby_) June 6, 2021
Wow. Excited to see what’s next. Your run at espn forever changed mma media.
— Brady Klopfer (@BradyKlopferNBA) June 6, 2021
— Sarah Spain (@SarahSpain) June 6, 2021
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) June 6, 2021
You're a terrific teammate, man, and I'm jealous of whoever gets to work with you next.
— Pablo S. Torre (@PabloTorre) June 6, 2021
Well done, Ariel. You had a great three years at ESPN. I have no doubt that you’ll keep pushing the industry forward wherever you’re going next. Congrats, mo chara!
— Peter Carroll (@PetesyCarroll) June 6, 2021
Congrats bud bud
— Jacoby (@djacoby) June 6, 2021
Wishing you the best with whatever’s next, Ariel 🤙
— Dan Tom (@DanTomMMA) June 6, 2021
Others suggested that Helwani could wind up having a role with Dan Le Batard at Meadowlark Media, but for now, it’s all speculation.
By the time Helwani’s run at ESPN officially ends next week, we should have more of an idea on where he’ll be taking his talents next.