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Ariel Helwani Says He Doesn’t Want Career ‘Messed With’ By UFC

“To this day, Helwani still thanks those prominent media figures for being very vocal about the UFC’s ban of him and getting his story into the mainstream media.”

Ricky Keeler

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Lately, ESPN’s lead UFC reporter, Ariel Helwani, has been in the news for his thoughts on what former MMA fighter Gina Carano had to say in terms of viewing her political thoughts to how Jews were treated in Nazi Germany, as well as UFC President Dana White’s response to what he had to say.

More headlines were made when Helwani received support from a former ESPN colleague in Dan Le Batard.

This week, Helwani was on the That’s What She Said podcast with Sarah Spain in an interview that was recorded at the beginning of February. While this topic was not addressed due to timing, Spain took her listeners into how Helwani has become what he is today. 

Helwani told Spain that support from his colleagues was nothing new. He was banned by the UFC in 2016 after reporting at UFC 199 that Brock Lesner was going to come out of retirement. Helwani was working for MMAFighting.com at the time, but said media outlets far bigger than that picked up on his story and the story of his banishment.

“That night, I go to my hotel room and pack my bags and take a super early flight back home,” Helwani said on the podcast. “I will never forget buying the WI-FI and going on my Twitter app and seeing a flood of retweets from really famous people and people I look up to. I looked up to Dan Le Batard. I didn’t think he knew who I was and there is a DM asking if I can come on his show on Monday.”

He ended up getting another call from Scott Van Pelt to come on SportsCenter. He also made appearances on The Dan Patrick Show and The Rich Eisen Show to talk about his banning. In fact, he was on the set of SportsCenter when he got word that UFC had reversed course on their decision.

To this day, Helwani still thanks those prominent media figures for being very vocal about the UFC’s ban of him and getting his story into the mainstream media. He said without that, he would not be where he is today.

“By the way, those journalists (Dan Patrick, Dan Le Batard, Rich Eisen, Rachel Nichols, Frank Isola). If they did not stick up for me, I am not talking to you as an ESPN journalist. They saved my career, those people, because they took that story outside of the MMA bubble, so I will always be indebted to those individuals.” 

As Helwani told Spain, covering the UFC is not easy because writers can be banned and he even said that the league still does not help him with much, yet he still finds a way to get the job done and successfully.

“At the end of the day, I just want to be able to do the job,” Helwani said noting that he has been told many times that a fighter’s schedule is too full to accommodate his interview requests. “I don’t want my livelihood to be messed with. I think the fans are smart. They see what’s messed up.”

Sports Online

NASCAR Driver Denny Hamlin Launching Podcast with Dale Earnhardt Jr & Dirty Mo Media

“New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.”

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Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Dirty Mo Media has announced a podcast deal with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin.

Hamlin will host Actions Detrimental with Denny Hamlin on a weekly basis during the NASCAR season. The Actions Detrimental branding is verbiage used by NASCAR for fines assessed to drivers for their disparaging comments about the sport. Known as one of NASCAR’s more outspoken drivers, Hamlin has been fined several times under the “actions detrimental to stock car racing” statutes.

New episodes will be published each Monday during the NASCAR season with previews and reviews of races, with the goal of inviting guests and interacting with fans playing a future role in the series.

Denny Hamlin jokingly thanked Dirty Mo Media for the “opportunity and the fat check” the company wrote for him to host the podcast in a Twitter announcement.

The 42-year-old Hamlin has won 48 races during his 18-year NASCAR Cup Series career. In addition to serving as a driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, he co-owns 23XI Racing with basketball legend Michael Jordan.

The podcast is the latest in an expansion of content produced by the Mooresville, North Carolina-based digital outlet. After beginning with The Dale Jr. Download, the company has grown to include other podcasts like Door, Bumper, Clear, and Speed Street, as well as video projects like The Next Level.

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Sports Online

Barstool Sports CEO: Golf Likely Next Step For Company’s Live Broadcasts

“I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love.”

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Barstool Sports CEO Erika Nardini recently did a wide-ranging interview with AdAge.com about the future of the digital sports outlet’s television aspirations, and she said sports they’re familiar with will take priority.

“”We want sports that appeal to a broad audience. We’re kind of tickled to be able to broadcast things in the first place. So I think we‘ll start with the biggest sports that we know and love, whether it’s basketball and football,” Nardini said. “You could definitely see that extended to golf, that would probably be the next place that we’ll play.”

The questions about Barstool’s future aspirations come after the company’s successful first broadcast of the Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl. Barstool says the broadcast received nearly 1 million views, peaking at 130,000 concurrent viewers. The outlet also broadcasted the Barstool Sports Invitational that featured Akron, Mississippi State, Toledo, and UAB in November.

Nardini added that the company is interested live televised sports for a few reasons.

“We’re owned by a sports betting company and the more we think about building our sports platform, there’s obviously a huge opportunity for us to convey a whole bunch of offerings to our audience, but certainly betting will be one of them…I think that live sports on television is the last man standing where it’s all anyone tunes in for.”

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Sports Online

Fanatics to Open First Sportsbook Inside FedEx Field

“The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Sports licensing giant Fanatics will soon be launching its long-anticipated sportsbook.

The company will open up a physical sportsbook location in Maryland at FedEx Field on January 20. Fanatics has also been granted a license to operate in Massachusetts, tethered to Plainridge Park Casino.

The location at the home of the Washington Commanders will make it the first sportsbook to open inside an NFL stadium. Bettors in the DMV will now be able to place wagers at all their local teams’ venues, as William Hill has an on-site location at Capital One Arena – home of the Capitals and Wizards – and BetMGM has a space at Nationals Park in D.C.

Despite having a physical location at FedEx Field, bettors in Maryland will not be able to place mobile wagers through a Fanatics Sportsbook app.

According to Front Office Sports, Fanatics hopes to have the sportsbook up and running in some fashion in all states where legal by September.

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