Earlier this year, MMA writer Kristine Haugsjaa and I predicted that Bellator MMA would have a breakout year. The company seems to have proven us right with signings like Benson Henderson, Rory McDonald, Chael Sonnen, Heather Hardy and Roy Nelson. They are also hosting an event in New York City, along with the Bellator 180 show on Spike TV. Long gone are the days of Kimbo Slice v. Dada 5000. It appears they aren’t done yet.
In sports, an announce team can help make or break a show. Bellator MMA understands this, so President Scott Coker has signed the two biggest announcers out there for his promotion. In a press release, the company stated they have come to terms with former UFC announcer Mike Goldberg and former WWE commentator Mauro Ranallo. Sean Grande is officially out of the announce table.
The duo will start together during the promotions June 24th Bellator NYC: Sonnen v. Silva and Bellator 180: Davis v. Bader events at Madison Square Garden. Coker stated in the release:
“Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo are two of the best in our business and I couldn’t be happier about them joining the Bellator family. In addition to June 24, we look forward to working together to make future Spike broadcasts even more exciting for our fans as we add further depth to an already-exceptional broadcast team.”
This is a brilliant move by Bellator MMA, as they have taken two highly touted free agents. The profiles for these men speak for themselves.
Mike Goldberg was the lead play-by-play announcer for the UFC for almost two decades. His knowledge of the sport knows no bounds. Goldberg left the UFC this past December. The story was he couldn’t come to an agreement with WME | IMG, the new owners.
Mauro Ranallo has done it all. The Canadian has worked for places like GLORY, New Japan Pro Wrestling and WWE. He actually goes way back with Coker, being the voice of Strikeforce as well as PRIDE for a few years. Ranallo recently parted ways with WWE over a controversial bullying scandal that involved JBL. For those who have gotten a taste of him as a WWE commentator, you know him as a passionate announcer with a knowledge of all combat-related sports.
Bellator MMA might have found their ultimate dream team to go along with Jimmy Smith, Jenn Brown and Chael Sonnen. The company will stop at nothing to make their event in the Big Apple as successful as possible. It will be very exciting to hear these two praising the name Bellator under the bright lights of New York City.