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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.”

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WWE Legend The Iron Sheik Remembered By Sports Media

“Following the announcement of his death, many sports talk shows took time out to pay tribute.”

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Courtesy: Getty Images

The Iron Sheik is one of the legendary villains in the history of professional wrestling. While he reached the peak of his fame in the ring in the 1980s and 90s, he found new life on Twitter thanks to his often profane, sometimes vulgar, and always funny commentary on the world.

The Sheik, whose real name was Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri died on Tuesday. He was 81 years old.

While most know his professional wrestling career, his amateur career is no less impressive. He competed for Iran at the 1968 Olymipcs and served as a coach for the United States national team at the 1972 games.

Following the announcement of his death, many sports talk shows took time out to pay tribute. Pat McAfee called the Iron Sheik “one of the greatest heels of all time” before offering a moment of silence. In Boston, Felger & Mazz producer James Stewart took to the 98.5 The Sports Hub website to post a tribute.

On social media, tributes poured in from all over. It started in the wrestling world.

But the appeal of The Iron Sheik was far bigger than just professional wrestling. As an entertainer, Sheik had plenty of fans across the sports media. They came with their own tributes that included favorite memories and taunting The Iron Sheik’s bitter rival Hulk Hogan.

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Joel Klatt Launching Big Noon Conversations Podcast

The subset of The Joel Klatt Show: A College Football Podcast, will premiere on Monday, June 12.

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Courtesy: FOX Sports

FOX Sports has announced the launch of a new interview-based series as college football season quickly approaches. The series, titled The Joel Klatt Show – “Big Noon Conversations” will feature lead college football analyst Joel Klatt and contain compelling and intuitive conversation about the sport.

The subset of The Joel Klatt Show: A College Football Podcast, will premiere on Monday, June 12 with an exclusive sitdown interview featuring Colorado football coach Deion Sanders. FOX will also carry Sanders’ first two games as the leader of the Buffaloes on Big Noon Saturday – first on Saturday, Sep. 2 on the road against TCU and then, one week later, in Boulder, Colo. against the University of Nebraska.

Other guests set to appear on the series include Ohio State football coach Ryan Day, Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and UCLA football coach Chip Kelly. The endeavor is in collaboration with FOX Sports Podcasts, and a preview of the series was tweeted out by the podcast shortly after Wednesday’s announcement.

Klatt has worked at FOX Sports since 2013, concurrent with the launch of FS1, where he began as a studio analyst for college football coverage. In addition, he joined broadcasts as a game analyst on select Thursday night games and the 2014 Pac-12 Championship Game, while also hosting FOX NFL Kickoff.

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Colin Cowherd: The Volume is Worth $100 Million

“In 18 months, my contract runs out. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I think the Volume will be a part of my life for the remainder of my broadcast career.”

Ricky Keeler

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With all of the things that Colin Cowherd has done in his illustrious media career, he enjoys getting the chance to be a part of a team. He gets that from his podcast company The Volume. Even though Cowherd is already a big name talent himself, he always wants to try to find who the next one is. 

Cowherd was a guest host on The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast filling in for John Ourand. He talked about how fun it is to work like a baseball scout.

“I like searching for talent. I feel like a baseball scout. It’s kind of a digital media company with podcasts…We have a pretty good staff. We will announce a couple names before the football season. It’s just really cool to be part of a team, to find talent. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.”

As for how much The Volume is worth, Cowherd said he is not looking to sell the company anytime soon.

“I’ve had people who have explored buying it. Right now, we are not going to. In 18 months, my contract runs out. I have no idea what I’m doing, but I think the Volume will be a part of my life for the remainder of my broadcast career.”

When that time does come though, Colin Cowherd isn’t going to give The Volume up for just anything. He recently got a high valuation.

“I think I know what it’s worth. I’ve talked to LionTree, a couple of banks. We are in a very soft advertising market, so what your evaluation is can be very fluid. I feel very strongly about what we are worth and we are not looking to sell it. It’s over $100 million.”

With the latest news about the duo of Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe splitting up on UNDISPUTED, Cowherd believes that Shannon Sharpe is one of the few people in media who can migrate an audience in the opinion space. 

“I think tandems are hard. I think they have an expiration date, but there’s not a lot of Shannons in the opinion space. There’s a lot of people doing it. There’s not a lot of people doing it at a high level and Shannon is theatrical, funny, handsome, and he is quick on his feet and he has stride and strong opinions. I think he is going to flourish wherever he goes.”

Cowherd did say some good things about Bayless. He admires Bayless’s passion for wanting to win the debate and he respects people who are passionate about anything that they do.

“I tend to like the search for theories, I’m not a debate guy. It’s just not my personality to debate. He was born to do it. He loves what he does. I found through the years in the media, I respect people who are passionate about what they do…He loves winning. If you told me he goes home and keeps a standings about the arguments he wins, I would believe it.”

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