A name now synonymous with MMA, Ariel Helwani has becomes one of the industry’s most widely-recognisable figures. The simple fact that he boasts significantly more Twitter “followers” (circa 66,000) than 80% of Zuffa-employed fighters underscores his power, prominence and popularity within MMA circles.
He has become most renowned for his stellar work as an ever-present interviewer, gaining unrivalled access to fighters, executives and personalities at UFC events, and also for his topical online show the MMA Hour. His rise to prominence has proven equally as meteoric as LHW sensation Jon “Bones” Jones. Within a matter of years, both men are at the top of their games.
Some have labelled Ariel an instigator, a trouble-maker, a sh*t-stirrer. All of these affectionate appellations are all inextricably linked to one indisputable fact; he’s a great interviewer. Nick Diaz said it best when stating that Ariel is "just doing his job", which is essentially to capture compelling insights and revelations from fighters. This inevitably entails posing questions aside from the generic “So, are you going to keep this one standing?”
There are others who perceive Ariel as the embodiment of a mainstream Zuffa-Zombie but it’s verisimilar that such detractors have been consuming a rather sizeable portion of sour grapes. After all Zuffa are at the zenith.
It’s difficult not to admire Ariel’s ascendancy. Here is a man who has proactively carved out a career through his own endeavour and “balls”. The definition of a self-made man, he symbolises that opportunities abound within the burgeoning sport of MMA, if talent is matched by passion and perseverance. His story should serve as an inspiration to anyone with entrepreneurial MMA ideas.
Here are his best bits, in no particular order...Enjoy