After his time as one of the most visible figures and the de facto voice of the UFC, Mike Goldberg was let go from the company in 2016 and signed by Bellator the following year. Recently that company announced he will no longer be doing commentary for them.
Bellator president Scott Coker discussed the matter in a post-fight presser after Bellator 255, an event for which Goldberg was absent. In his place was Showtime staple Mauro Ranallo, who opened the show with a production package celebrating the legacy of MMA programming on the network and bringing back something of a classic Strikeforce feel.
But it appears Goldberg might not have been a fit for that particular groove. Coker, as per usual, remained very cavalier regarding the situation and explained that this was purely a business decision made by Showtime:
“Listen, Mike is – one, he’s a friend,” Coker said. “He’s been a voice of MMA for such a long time, along with Mauro. I mean, Mauro, he’s been around (since during) PRIDE with Bas Rutten. This is way back (in) ’97, ’98, ’99.
“At one time, we had the two best on the planet. It was a production decision and they decided to move forward. That’s where we stand. But you know what? This is the kind of business that, you never know. If there’s boxing on one side and Mauro is doing it, who knows what will happen in the future? But that’s the way it rolled out.”
Ranallo has had a wealth of experience working for Showtime under both Strikeforce and their boxing programming, so he’s a familiar and dependable entity for them. He’s also been part of a commentary rotation in which he worked some events while Goldberg worked others. It’s an unfortunate end for Goldberg’s time in Bellator, where he genuinely seemed to be enjoying himself and the work he was doing with the company.
This may open the door for him to do commentary elsewhere, or perhaps he may even work in another sport. He also may just leave sports altogether and pursue other avenues, of course. What’s undeniable is that he’s someone that clearly has fun out there and loves the sport of MMA, even if he’s also brought us some of the most awkward commentary in any sport.
Also of note is the fact that Coker’s last line there leaves the possibility open for Goldberg to return at some point if circumstances change. With more frequent live events on both the boxing and MMA side, they might need him back at some point.
Whatever is next for Goldberg, let’s hope he lands on his feet.