After 19 years of calling fights for UFC, play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg will take his talents to Bellator MMA. Goldberg, who was let go by UFC last year, will make his promotional debut later tonight (Sat., June 24, 2017) at Bellator 180 in New York City. As Goldberg prepares himself for a new venture within the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), the 52-year-old recently reflected on his departure from UFC and arrival to Bellator.
“The last six months were as difficult as any period of my life,” Goldberg said earlier this week during an interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani. "And it was professional, wasn’t personal, but it was as difficult as any six months in my life. And it’s weird, though, because what was difficult was that everybody that I spoke to said ‘oh, it’s a no brainer, you’re gonna be great with us, it’s a no brainer, let’s make it happen.’
"When you’re dealing with big corporations and there’s a lot of moving parts, ‘let's make this happen’ in February or March, in the corporate world, happens in June. And in my world, in that time, you just want to have it, you just want that text or email or that call to say ‘hey, Goldie, you’re back in the game.’"
While Goldberg will only handle Bellator 180’s preliminary action, leaving the pay-per-view (PPV) main card workload to long-time MMA commentator Mauro Ranallo, his addition to the Bellator team is priceless. It may have taken Goldberg longer than expected to get back into the driver’s seat to call some fights, but the UFC legend finally made it happen.
"It was difficult,” Goldberg said of the months between his UFC release and Bellator signing. "What pushed me through it, and what kept me motivated — obviously, my family is first and foremost — were the fans and the tweets that continued, and the praise and the ‘we miss you, Goldie’, ‘when are you coming back?’ That energized me."
"I’m glad those six months are behind me,” he continued. "And that will just be a small blip on a long, long career. But it was difficult. It was difficult, first and foremost, because I love what I do, and I was anxious to get back to doing it."
With a slew of new fighting talent entering the promotion and renowned television personalities like Goldberg and Ranallo joining the broadcast ranks, Bellator is making a serious push in 2017. The promotion has a long way to go before challenging UFC for MMA supremacy, but it has made gigantic strides over the past 18 months.
"I’m on a journey now that is pretty cool,” Goldberg said, "and I’m anxious to see what the destination is gonna turn out to be. But I’m all in."
Stick with Mania as we bring you live coverage of Bellator 180.