Bellator MMA’s play-by-play man Sean Grande announced his departure from the promotion yesterday. Less than twenty-four hours later, his replacement (actually replacements) have been announced. On today’s Bellator NYC conference call, attended by Cageside Press, Scott Coker confirmed the signing of both Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo.
The news kicked off the call today.
“Mauro and Goldie combined will be doing all of our fights in 2017-2018,” Coker told the media in attendance, “and hopefully beyond. We’re very excited, we think this is the best broadcast team in the business now. We’re locked and loaded, ready to go.”
It appears Bellator had been talking to both broadcast veterans for quite some time. However, “it all happened within the last couple weeks” as far as things finally coming together.
Mike Goldberg, of course, is known to a generation of MMA fans as the voice of the UFC. “Goldie” was rather unceremoniously dumped from the promotion following last year’s UFC 207, without anything in the way of a proper sendoff. He was later pictured in the crowd at UFC Phoenix earlier this year, where pal B.J. Penn was fighting.
Mauro Ranallo, meanwhile, was the voice of Pride, and later Strikeforce, Bellator CEO Scott Coker’s previous promotion. He was most recently working for the WWE Smackdown, but left the pro wrestling company earlier this year amidst allegations of bullying by fellow announcer JBL. Ranallo later stated the two parties parted ways mutually.
The two men will join the mix with color commentator Jimmy Smith and occasionally Chael Sonnen (when he’s not fighting), according to Coker. However, Coker wasn’t able to provide details as to exactly how the announce team will look with the additional bodies.
All parties will be present for Bellator 180 and Bellator NYC on June 24, however, so it’s likely fans will get some answers then.