Bellator broadcaster Sean Grande is saying goodbye to mixed martial arts, at least for now.
After spending the past two years as Bellator’s play-by-play man alongside color commentator Jimmy Smith, Grande, who is also the radio voice of the Boston Celtics, has decided that he is wearing too many hats as Bellator continues to expand. He makes his exit prior to Bellator’s big event on June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
“Have no illusions. I didn’t, I don’t want to walk away. Certainly not today. I was ready, willing and wanting to continue on, as I promised you I would two years ago. My first choice would certainly have been to stay with the Celtics, while doing as many Bellator shows as I was physically and contractually able,” Grande said in a statement to MMA Fighting.
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“But two things were becoming clear. One, the new Bellator schedule with its heavy Fall/Winter and international leanings were in direct, overwhelming conflict with the NBA. And two, I think we all agreed that the new Bellator, the 2017 Bellator has grown to the point it deserves a voice, maybe even more than one, that can make it his (or her) top priority.”
A key factor in Grande’s decision wasn’t just the work, but that the work was taking a toll on his family life. He has a five-and-a-half-year-old son that he wants to be around to raise.
Grande indicated that he was open to an eventual return to mixed martial arts if circumstances permitted.
Bellator officials made it clear that the decision to exit was Grande’s. The promotion has yet to select a replacement, although longtime UFC play-by-play voice Mike Goldberg would be a logical choice. Goldberg left the UFC at the beginning of the year when his contract was not renewed.
(Photo courtesy of Sean Grande)