In an MMAWeekly Exclusive, Mike Goldberg, the play-by-play voice of the UFC sat down and talked briefly about his decision to not accept a huge offer from the WWE, why he stayed with the UFC and what his future is with the company.
Goldberg has been part of the UFC since 1997. Ultimate Japan was his first UFC and little did anyone know he would go through the good, bad and ugly of the SEG days, not to mention making the transition to when Zuffa took over the UFC at UFC 32.
Even though he spent 8 years with the UFC, the WWE stepped in and made a huge offer to the play-by-play voice of the UFC. “They contacted me through a talent agency six weeks ago…” Goldberg told MMAWeekly.com. “I got the message through my agent, that they had a great interest in me and I’ve always heard they were a great organization so they were interested in talking to me and I was interested in hearing what they had to say.”
The WWE made a huge offer to Goldberg. Goldberg would not reveal any terms of the deal, but the Wrestling Observer and Dave Meltzer reported last week that it was in the ball park of a three year, 1.5 million dollar deal. So why would Goldie leave all the money on the table?
“I was skeptical leaving everything I’ve done for years, meaning the UFC and my sports broadcasting background with Fox Sports Network. I was not really skeptical of the WWE though. They treated me with great class through the whole thing. They are the best at what they do which is sports entertainment. I believe the UFC is the best at what they do and that’s Mixed Martial Arts. What I was originally hopeful for was that I could still have a role with F.S.N and the UFC and begin a role with the WWE. I wanted to see what my other employers would say about working for both companies, because at the time the WWE was still with Spike TV, as was the UFC. When it got latter in the process I found out I would have to leave my other things and make a decision one way or another.” Goldberg said.
So after a six week negotiation period with the WWE, Goldberg verbally accepted a deal with the WWE. “We agreed to financial terms at one point, but we still had to work some things out contract wise. I never signed anything however. If I signed a contract I would have been with them. That’s how I do business. If I sign something I stand by it.”
The UFC after last Monday’s Spike TV Ultimate Fight Night Live, decided to not let Goldberg go and started a frantic negotiating period last week. UFC President, Dana White decided not to let Goldie walk to the WWE and made a counter offer to his play-by-play voice. “I’ve only missed 2 pay per view’s since 1997.” Goldberg said. ” That’s like 500 fights. I’ve always been treated with respect by Lorenzo Fertitta, Dana White and the crew. I’m sure Mr. McMahon would’ve done the same. Once the UFC came back with a very substantial offer and after talking further with the WWE, it became clear that my heart was still with the UFC. I knew what I went through and it became clear that is where I should be. Having the FSN (Fox Sports Network) thing was huge as well. Working for both Pac-10 and SEC in football and the ACC in basketball was great. Being able to do both was huge for me and ultimately made my decision.”
So what kind of offer did the UFC make to Goldberg? “I don’t want to say what it was because that is between me and the UFC and me and the WWE. I will just say it was equally impressive what they offered to me. That made it clear I’m part of Zuffa family and that meant a lot to me. I want to continue to be a part of that family.”
Mike Goldberg will talk more about what his future holds today on MMAWeekly Radio as Ryan Bennett and Frank Trigg will kick off the show with the play-by-play voice at 9am Pacific/12 Noon at www.mmaweeklyradio.com