The WWE and UFC’s losses are Bellator’s gains as the #2 mixed martial arts league in North America picked up both Mauro Ranallo and Mike Goldberg as commentators for their future events. The relationship will kick off with both men appearing at Bellator NYC on June 24th, headlined by Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva and Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Mitrione.
Ranallo is a longtime MMA commentator most famous for his announcing during the golden age of PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. More recently he was hired by WWE until a bout of depression reportedly triggered by backstage bullying led to his departure. Ranallo has been open and honest regarding his mental condition for years, and the incident caused a backlash amongst fans towards the WWE and their longstanding culture of hazing talent.
Mike Goldberg is no stranger to anyone who has ever tuned into a UFC broadcast. He was the main play by play announcer for the company for over 15 years. There was some controversy surrounding his departure as well after the UFC unceremoniously released him without even an on-air tribute following his years of service. While Goldberg often got flack for numerous dopey on air gaffes, he was our dope and we loved him well. He deserved better.
Now both are headed to Bellator, which seems to be scaling up its operations as the UFC struggles with fighter revolts following their $4.3 billion dollar sale to WME-IMG. A big part of that puzzle involves pulling in some of that prized pay-per-view money no other MMA promotion other than the UFC has been able to reliably tap.
The Bellator event on June 24th at Madison Square Garden will be their second PPV event, and will cost $49.95. We doubt many fans will shell out that kind of money just for Ranallo or Goldberg, but it doesn’t hurt having familiar voices associated with decades of quality mixed martial arts action.