Less than 24 hours after Bellator accepted the resignation of play-by-play man Sean Grande, the promotion announced not one, but two new hires to its commentary team.
With Grande’s exit, Bellator seized on the opportunity to bring two veterans of mixed martial arts broadcasting into the fold. Bellator president Scott Coker revealed that longtime UFC commentator Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo, a veteran of numerous promotions, would join the current broadcast team that consists of Jimmy Smith, Jenn Brown, and Chael Sonnen.
“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,” said Coker. “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.
“Mauro and Goldie combined will be doing all of our fights in 2017 and 2018, and hopefully beyond.”
“The addition of highly-regarded announcers Mauro and Mike to our fantastic lineup of broadcasters, and our first-rate production led by Scott Fishman, further demonstrates our commitment MMA fans and expanding the global Bellator brand,” added Spike SVP, Sports and Specials Jon Slusser.
Although the deal is done, what form the commentary team will take has yet to be determined according to Coker. Goldberg and Ranallo are both known for their play-by-play abilities, so there is likely to be a bit of a shift in duties, and it’s still unknown how Smith and Sonnen fit into the mix on-air.
Goldberg is best known for his 20 plus years of play-by-play work for the UFC that made him popular with fans around the globe. In addition to his two decades in MMA, he has broadcast every major sport at the network level, most notably his 900 games in the NHL, both nationally and with the Minnesota Wild, Vancouver Canucks and Detroit Red Wings. He has also hosted entertainment shows, including “Shaq Vs.”
Ranallo gained notoriety with MMA fans during his tenure with PRIDE, and later STRIKEFORCE, where his voice became synonymous with the now-legendary events. Throughout his career, Ranallo has spent time working with various sports outside of MMA, including boxing, professional wrestling, kickboxing and ice hockey, and will continue his work with Showtime Boxing.