5 minute Round with…Ariel Helwani, MMA Fighting

Posted: April 13, 2011 in Marketing, PR, Social Media

In addition to exploring local schools and social media do’s and don’ts, this blog focuses each week on the mainstream coverage/views of MMA. To those that follow the sport closely, there are few media personalities more recognizable than Ariel Helwani.

Helwani, a graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, primarily works for MMAFighting.com (aol) and has been covering MMA professionally since 2006.  He is also the host of “The MMA Hour” interviewing the MMA elite and delivering to fans both via YouTube and podcast.  You may have also seen his work through his contributions as an analyst to the VERSUS network or through some of his  ESPN’s broadcast coverage of the sport.  In terms of top-tier MMA coverage, he is everywhere you need to be.

Despite a busy schedule, Helwani was kind enough to answer a few of my questions regarding his career in MMA journalism and his thoughts on MMA marketing.

What made you decide to focus on MMA Journalism?

I always wanted to be a journalist and I was a big fan of MMA. It just kind of made sense.

Although many have followed suit, you certainly stand out as one of the most recognizable media figures spanning aol, ESPN, VS.,etc  how did you break through to these mainstream outlets to get them to agree to showcase MMA content?

Just worked hard, tried to differentiate myself from the rest and provide content that people couldn’t get anywhere else.

How do you like to work with PR professionals or Agents?  (If you do at all.) For independent fighters (who may not have representation) looking to introduce themselves to you, how do you prefer to be contacted?

Everyone in MMA is great to work with. They are all very accessible and accommodating, for the most part.

Given you have a strong presence across a variety of social media channels, which do you find most effective?

Twitter, by far. When I started, Myspace was a great tool, but as you know, it isn’t as popular. A close second would be Facebook.

Over the years of following this sport, have any specific MMA sponsorships from consumer brands surprised you?

Not really. I think the sport has only scratched the surface. I look forward to the day when Nike, Adidas and Reebok (to name a few) start sponsoring the athletes.

  1. Awesome to hear from Ariel! I’m a big fan of his interviews and I like the way he manages to put fighters at ease when he interviews them. His recent interview with Mr. Wonderful was great. He is def. a staple in MMA.

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