ESPN has seemingly found their replacement for Ariel Helwani in the fight game. Mike Coppinger is joining the network as their newest combat sports reporter. The writer who most recently worked for The Athletic should have a wide-ranging media role like Helwani’s. Although, Coppinger has focused more on boxing than MMA throughout his career.
The reporter will fulfill news, analysis, storytelling, and live event coverage for both boxing and mixed martial arts. Along with writing, he will appear on TV and radio.
“Sources: I’m so excited to join ESPN,” Coppinger wrote on Twitter. “It’s genuinely a dream come true. Will be covering boxing and MMA, beginning with coverage from Las Vegas next week for UFC 264. Today is Day 1 and I can’t wait to bring everyone combat sports coverage for the best platform in the world!”
Coppinger started his career as a freelancer at USA Today before growing his role there and eventually being their lead boxing writer from 2015 to 2017. He moved on to the same role at Ring Magazine before spending the past two years at The Athletic as a boxing insider.
“We are excited to welcome Mike Coppinger to the ESPN combat sports team,” senior deputy editor of ESPN.com Cristina Daglas said in a press release. “He has been a leading voice in the boxing space, breaking news and providing smart analysis as well as compelling behind-the-scenes storytelling. He will bring those skills and more to our many platforms.”
This hire comes during a big month in combat sports, with trilogy fights going down in UFC (Dustin Poirier v. Conor McGregor) and boxing (Tyson Fury v. Deontay Wilder).
“I’m excited to join the already formidable boxing and MMA team at ESPN among the likes of Max Kellerman, Mark Kriegel, and Joe Tessitore,” Coppinger said in the press release. “To cover the fight game for ESPN is truly a dream come true. Through breaking news, analysis and storytelling, the goal is to shine a light on combat sports for fans around the world.”
Russ Heltman is a daily news writer for BSM. He is the morning host and producer for 89.3 WMKV in Cincinnati, OH. He also works in gameday communications for FC Cincinnati and additionally contributes to the AllBengals blog for Sports Illustrated. Russ can be found on Twitter @RussHeltman11 or you can reach him by email at [email protected].
WWE Moving Smackdown From FOX to USA in 2024
“Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four primetime WWE specials each year too. Those will run on NBC.”
All good things must come to an end. That is the case with the relationship between the WWE and FOX. Smackdown will leave the network next year and return to USA according to John Ourand of Sports Business Journal.
Several reports from earlier this year have indicated that FOX was unlikely to renew the deal.
The financial terms were not disclosed, but other details were. A five-year deal between the WWE and NBCUniversal begins in October 2024. It will put Smackdown on USA, where it ran from 2016 until 2019.
Under the terms of the deal, NBCUniversal will produce four primetime WWE specials each year too. Those will run on NBC.
This does not mean all of WWE’s media rights are accounted for. The company is still in discussions for a new deal for Raw.
USA has enjoyed a more than 20-year relationship with Raw. It has been the anchor of the network’s Monday night programming and is routinely WWE’s most-viewed TV product.
NBCUniversal’s Peacock is also the home of WWE Network. The addition of Smackdown, should strengthen the company’s position with the WWE.
Ourand reports that while the signs seem to indicate that WWE will exclusively be doing business with NBCUniversal, nothing is decided. Disney and Amazon have both met with TKO Holdings about acquiring some WWE programming and the companies have discussed the potential for Raw to move to a different night as part of a new deal.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at [email protected].
ESPN Decision Not to Show Nick Chubb Replay ‘Out of Respect to the Viewers’
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb.”
The decision made not to show a replay of Nick Chubb’s injury on ABC’s Monday Night Football broadcast has been met with scrutiny. The network did not offer a detailed explanation for the decision.
“We viewed the replays in our production truck immediately after the play and decided to use discretion out of respect to the viewers and Nick Chubb,” an ESPN spokesperson said when asked by The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch how the decision was made.
The spokesperson added that the decision did not come down from network brass. It was made onsite by the Monday Night Football production crew.
On the broadcast, Troy Aikman revealed that the injury was “as bad as you can imagine” after Joe Buck told the audience that he had been informed that the network had decided not to replay the interview.
While some members of the public praised the decision, some sports media professionals have had the opposite reaction, including Dan Patrick, who said ABC had a duty to the viewers to show a replay to put the sport and the event in context.
Marcellus Wiley has ‘No Love & No Respect’ for Stephen A. Smith’s Ethics
“I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
Marcellus Wiley doesn’t want to hear Stephen A. Smith caping for Shannon Sharpe. He said its hard to overlook the hypocrisy of the ESPN star saying it is unfair to see Sharpe “pushed out” of Undisputed when he did the same thing to Max Kellerman on First Take.
Smith said that he has no ill-will towards Kellerman but did not like hosting First Take with him. He claimed that his ultimatum to ESPN management that one of them had to go was about the show not resonating with audiences the way it used to.
“He got Max fired. Put off the show,” Wiley said. “It’s hard to say. Stephen A felt threatened point blank. Ain’t no way around it.”
Wiley says that part of Stephen A. Smith’s problem with Terrell Owens is that Owens touched a nerve with his joke that Kellerman sounded Blacker than Smith. Wiley said that for whatever reason, it is something Smith remains sensitive about.
He also took Smith to task for claiming that he knows the story behind Sharpe’s ouster from FS1 but cannot tell it. Wiley says Smith has a more compelling story to tell and that people just want to hear him own up to why Kellerman had to go.
“I still got love for Stephen A,” Wiley said. “At the same time, you know me, I love the truth more than any of these fools, and the truth is, you cannot attack Max’s credentials.”
He added that for all of the talk about Kellerman never being the right fit for First Take, he can remember working with Kellerman on ESPN Los Angeles and hearing Smith call to try and convince Kellerman to move to New York to join First Take.
“Grandma always said ‘can’t makes sense out of nonsense.’ Let me say this. Stephen A gets a salute from all, especially me, because I respect his work ethic. But right now, and a lot of people are seeing it right before our very eyes, no love and no respect for your ethics.”