What shitty news for a Thanksgiving weekend. If I had made a long and gooey “Things I’m Thankful For” list like the guys at Bloody Elbow and Yahoo Sports did, I would have included “Guys like Ariel Helwani who are keeping it real.” Unfortunately, he will now have to keep it real somewhere other than MMARated.com: he has just been downsized.
The combo of expansion and tough economy is catching up with Casey Wasserman, whose Wasserman Media Group slashed its Sportnet division by 41 percent. Twenty-eight of the group’s 68 employees were laid off late Friday, including Gabe Huerta, VP-product development, and a number of others from product development and support. Sportnet produces immersive sports coverage, including live events, and operates more than three dozen sites including USAswimming.org, motocross.com, skateboard.com and snowboarder.com.
The fate of MMARated.com is still unknown. Was the entire site put on the chopping block or will they try to run it with a skeleton crew? Will it wither away without Ariel at the helm driving traffic with exclusive news? I’m thinking so, but I guess we’ll see. The real question I’m wondering is where Ariel will end up. Personally, I think HDNet needs someone running around doing interviews for them, and they need an improved web presence. Ariel can do both things for them.