American fans may not have been aware, but not long ago, Fabricio Werdum was a notable part of the UFC commentary team. The former heavyweight champion was the key man in the booth for the UFC’s Spanish language broadcasts on their Latin America targeted UFC Network. Right up until he put his foot in it, at least.
Back in October of 2016, Werdum made a post on Instagram declaring that he wasn’t “generic” and had been team Nike from childhood. The post was accompanied by a picture of in a Reebok shirt with a shopped Nike logo on it. He was fired from his commentary position shortly afterward.
"I don't have anything with Reebok, only during the fight,” Werdum was quoted as saying after the incident. “They can do anything. Did a post? Lose your job as commentator. If I had lost it because I was doing a poor job and nobody likes me, fine, but I know it's not the case. I know I was doing a good job because I get messages from all Latin America saying that, and I have already received messages from people saying they will cancel the channel now."
And while it seemed he was willing to just have done with the whole thing and move on at the time, now it seems Werdum would like another shot at his former gig. Speaking to Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of the MMA Hour, ‘Vai Cavalo’ revealed that he’s hoping to get a meeting with Dana White and get his job back (transcript via MMA Fighting)
“You know me, I’m like Nate Diaz, maybe more,” Werdum told Ariel Helwani on a recent edition of The MMA Hour. “I joke a lot and I don’t think the UFC understands my joking. I have a lot of fans, and one made the thing where he took off the Reebok and put Nike and I just reposted it, just a repost. The UFC doesn’t understand it’s a joke, they don’t understand. I want to come back to my job at UFC network. I love it, it’s my passion. I have a lot of people asking me, ‘Hey, Werdum, when are you going to come back again?’ and I say, ‘I’m just waiting for the boss to say, ‘it’s okay, your time off is done now.’
“I have nothing bad with Reebok. Reebok is a very good sponsor of the UFC and I have a good relationship with the UFC, I’m with the UFC 100 percent, and I work a lot for the UFC. I go a lot to Latin America and I do a lot of events in Mexico, so I’m just waiting to come back again.”
“I want to go maybe next week to Las Vegas to talk with Dana White about everything,” Werdum explained. “I have a lot of jokes in my Instagram and social media, I joke a lot, and Dana doesn’t understand me, maybe the joking is different in Brazil than in America. So I want to go there and talk to him, maybe joke with him and post too, you know.”
After all, just like Werdum suggested, the UFC Network is not in nearly the same place it was when he was removed from his position. Perhaps they could benefit from getting the popular color commentator back. Not that he’s likely responsible for the recent changes, but as Indiscutido.com reports, what was once a channel covering much of Latin America, has been scaled back to Mexico only. This change leaves few countries in South & Central America with access to UFC programming outside of Brazil.
Additionally, what had been a 10-year deal between the UFC and service provider Grupo Televisa to carry the UFC Network has been reduced to 5-years, meaning that the channel’s broadcast rights for Mexico will be open to negotiation in 2018. Werdum’s exit from the UFC Network may have been an ignoble one, but there’s no guarantee that the platform will even exist a year from now.