I now have something in common with Wayne Gretzky, other than our nationalities, of course

When I was deciding what I wanted to do in my post-ESPN life earlier this year, there were a few items I wanted to accomplish:

  1. Bring back my old show? Check.

  2. Work with my friends again? Check.

  3. Work with BT Sport? Check.

  4. Have a place where I can write freely? Check.

  5. Start my own show? Check.

  6. Be a part of the telecast for big events? Check.

Needless to say, it’s been a fun few months!

I couldn’t be happier with how all of this turned out. I’m working with great people each and every day. This is the dream.

But there was one more partnership I was looking to secure. As you all know, sports gaming has exploded in America, and, of course, it’s a massive part of the way people talk about and consume combat sports.

So, I wanted to partner with a gaming company, too. To provide content for and to share content leading up to events. This was big for me.

And, truth be told, there was only one entity I wanted to team up with and only one that I actually spoke to: BetMGM.

Two reasons:

1) I think I have been to Las Vegas over 50 times now for fights, and I have stayed at an MGM property every single time. It feels like home. Great people. I have wonderful memories with MGM in Vegas.

2) Ryan Spoon.

Spoon was the digital content chief at ESPN during my time there. He’s a great guy. Very non-corporate, which is my style. I enjoyed working with him very much.

Well, late last year, he announced that he would be leaving ESPN to become the new COO of BetMGM. I found this move to be fascinating on many levels, but it also told me that if Ryan was willing to leave a great gig at ESPN for BetMGM, BetMGM was a special place to be.

So, a few months ago, we talked briefly about a partnership and we got it done it very quickly.

That means I am now an official BetMGM Brand Ambassador, alongside the likes of Marshawn Lynch and Wayne Gretzky. I mean, how cool is that?

But unlike those famous people, I’m just a lowly journalist. Which means I’ll be providing content to their channels leading up to events and they’ll provide me with great data and analysis before cards, too. We’ll also be doing fan events and all kinds of fun stuff. Stay tuned for more on that.

So, thank you Ryan and thank you BetMGM. The team has been phenomenal to work with so far. It’s an honor and privilege to be a part of the team.

And thanks, as always, to all of you for all the support every year, but especially this year. You have given me the strength and confidence to accomplish these goals. I love you all.

The Independent Heelwani era is now in full swing.

10-7.