Along with a rebranding of its longtime television home, Bellator is ending a months long game of commentating round robin with the departure of longtime color commentator Jimmy Smith.
Though the statement was short on detail, Bellator on Thursday announced the “mutually agreed” decision to part ways with Smith, likely signaling a shift to veteran broadcasters Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo taking over the broadcast table on a full-time basis.
“After a long and successful relationship, Jimmy Smith and Bellator have mutually agreed to part ways,” read Bellator’s statement.
“Jimmy is one of the finest combat sports announcers of our time,” the statement continued. “He has played an integral role in the growth of Bellator as it has evolved into the successful global franchise it is today.”
Details on Bellator’s 2018 on-air team were not announced, but having inked deals with well known talents Goldberg and Ranallo earlier in the year, it would seem likely that – following several months of shuffling cageside seats – they would become a more consistent tandem moving forward.
There appeared to be little animosity on Smith’s part, as he said, “I am very grateful to the entire Bellator organization and fans for an amazing and unforgettable nine years. As I move on to the next phase in my career, I want to wish all of the fighters, producers, and Bellator staff the absolute best.”
The promotion kicks off its 2018 on the Paramount Network with Bellator 192 on Jan. 20. The fight card is headlined by a welterweight title fight and the opening quarterfinal bout of the Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix, which is expected to play out over the course of the year.