Exclusive: Ariel Helwani Leaving ESPN

Ariel Helwani is leaving ESPN, multiple sources tell OutKick.

When reached by OutKick, ESPN confirmed that Helwani will depart the network:

"We thank Ariel for his many contributions to ESPN’s MMA coverage and beyond. We had hoped to have him continue in that role and made him an offer to remain with ESPN," the network said in a statement. "He chose to explore new opportunities and we wish him the best."

It's not clear where Helwani is headed or even if that decision is final. Helwani has at least spoken to Meadowlark Media, Showtime, and Action Network, sources add. 

Industry sources believe that, with the UFC's growth, Helwani, the sport's most known reporter, has the opportunity to build something away from traditional media with non-exclusive distribution partners.

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Bobby Burack is a writer for OutKick where he reports and analyzes the latest topics in media, culture, sports, and politics.. Burack has become a prominent voice in media and has been featured on several shows across OutKick and industry related podcasts and radio stations.