Arguably one of the greatest sports journalists of all times, Ariel Helwani has remained prominent in the arena of combat sports since he took to covering Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) professionally in 2006. Since he joined ESPN in May 2018 to continue the business of covering the MMA world, Ariel has been able to build a phenomenal career even through some controversial phases along the way. He is passionate about his job, which is his major propellant to success and has been described as the Howard Cosell of MMA.
Ariel Helwani’s Bio
Ariel was born in his hometown of Montreal, Quebec, Canada on July 8, 1982, and was raised in a Jewish family. He attended Akiva School as well as Herzilah High School. His mother is a Lebanese while his father hails from Egypt.
He is well versed with sports journalism, having studied in Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications in Syracuse, New York where he graduated from in 2004 to embrace the field professionally in 2006 covering mixed martial art since then. He rose to prominence for his work on MMAFighting.com. He hosted their interview show, MMA Hour as well as the commentary segment, MMA Beat on YouTube and other pre- and post-event programming. Ariel also worked for Fox Sports 1 as an MMA Insider and co-host of the Sirius XM radio show Fight Club.
He has had to deal with a number of controversies in the course of covering combat sport. For instance, he was banned for life from all UFC (United Fighting Championships) events and his press credential taken along with two other colleagues on June 4, 2016, for reporting Brock Lesnar’s return to UFC 200 before the announcement. The offense for which he got the ban was deemed against standard practice. However, the ban was repealed two days later.
The MMA journalist moved to ESPN in June 2018 where he will cover the sport on different platforms, host a weekly MMA program, and continue his podcast, The Ariel Helwani Show. Additionally, Ariel will co-host a 30-minutes show on ESPN+ titled Ariel and The Bad Guy alongside former UFC and current Bellator fighter Chael Sonnen. While Chael who is still an active fighter will provide a unique insight into many of the topics they will discuss, Ariel who believes one doesn’t need to be a pro fighter to excel in sports journalism especially as it has to do with MMA will create the balance by employing his veteran style of reportage and news coverage with top notch interviews.
Wife – Jaclyn Stein
The MMA choice reporter is happily married to his childhood sweetheart, Jaclyn Stein. The lovely duo met in seventh grade in 1994 and got married in 2008.
Jaclyn, a Montreal, Quebec native was born on March 28, 1982, to Anize and Barry Stein. She graduated from Herzilah High School, Montreal in 1999 and earned a degree in Management from McGill University in 2004. While in college, she hosted her first charity benefit for cancer, a course born out of her desire to see college students get involved with cancer awareness and research. She has supported local fundraisers and cancer awareness campaigns with her husband.
Jaclyn is also a jewelry designer and the CEO of ANIZE jewelry, a design company she runs with her sister Joanna and mother, Anize. She studied jewelry design at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology and combines her experience as an art teacher, artist, sculptor, and painter to create exceptional designs for their brand, often looking to nature (ocean, dew drops, the moon) for inspiration. Added to her artistic acumen, she is fluent in French, English, and Hebrew languages.
Ariel Helwani lives with his wife and three children, two boys and a girl in Brooklyn, New York.
Ariel Helwani’s Height and Other Facts
Ariel Helwani is a little above average height at 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
He is one of the most recognized faces in the business of combat news journalism and is lauded for knowing his onions well as it concerns MMA reportage.
Ariel has a handful of accolades to show for his ventures including winning the MMA Journalist of the Year award for seven consecutive times (2010 to 2016), the 2014 Journalist of the Year in the Awakening WMMA Awards as well as being named one of FIGHT! Magazine’s Power 20 in 2011.
He is the interim president of the MMA Journalists Association.
During his time in the MMA Hour, he was privileged to interview some top names in the sport such as Michael Bisping, Frankie Edgar, and Rampage Jackson.
He is often praised for taking sports journalism in a way that is unusual and for daring to ask interview questions others shy away from.