It is all over – that familiar catchphrase was uttered by Mike Goldberg on a seemingly countless number of occasions throughout his UFC career.
The iconic commentator became a staple of the early UFC cards, functioning as the play-by-play man for the UFC during the promotion’s first rise to mainstream prominence under the leadership of Zuffa. Alongside color commentator Joe Rogan, Goldberg helped form an iconic commentary team that provided the right mix of technical insight and excitement.
Goldberg’s penchant for calling the fights with excitement and zeal made him a favorite of fans, though the UFC’s new owners may not have gotten the memo. Even though he was approaching two decades of service to the promotion, their new owners, WME-IMG, released Goldberg.
He didn’t sit on the sidelines long – Bellator, the UFC’s biggest competitor, quickly signed the popular commentator only about six months later.
Now a member of their commentary team and providing the same familiar analysis and banter that he did in the UFC, Goldberg recently weighed in on the UFC’s current broadcasts. Goldberg conceded that things were different now.
Goldberg said: “I will do everything in my power to make sure that Bellator has the best TV broadcast in MMA. And that’s not being disrespectful to anybody. Jon Anik is my buddy. He never did anything to me and I never did anything to him.”
Anik served as one of the replacement commentators for Goldberg. While Goldberg noted that there was a friendship there, he also stated that the environment was competitive. Both the UFC and Bellator are looking for ratings, and Bellator is seeing an increase.
Goldberg noted that the UFC’s recent broadcasts were not really as exciting as they could be. While Goldberg did acknowledge that he had a blooper reel that could fill up 15 or 20 minutes, he said his millions of minutes on air made that a pretty good record overall.
He wasn’t the only UFC employee to head to Bellator. Plenty of fighters like Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, Frank Mir, Chael Sonnen, Matt Mitrione, Roy Nelson, and Ryan Bader have all tried their luck at the rival promotion, with many of them competing in the inaugural heavyweight Grand Prix.
Even on the non-fighting side of things, referees like John McCarthy have also made the jump, handling duties like announcing and promotion. Having familiar faces can help a new promotion – and the same goes for familiar voices. Goldberg’s iconic commentary may be enough to help UFC fans feel at home watching Bellator.
Other roster changes made by WME-IMG include the termination of managerial positions for former fighters and Hall of Famers Matt Hughes and Chuck Liddell. The new owners also revamped the UFC’s approach to drug testing and began putting more of an emphasis on “super fights” rather than rankings-based clashes.
While the UFC may see commentators come and go, fans have a good memory – meaning they may appreciate hearing Goldberg calling fights once more.