Ousted UFC announcer Mike Goldberg may find himself calling fights again soon, only now the worked kind.
Reports from Sportskeeda and “The Daily Sheet” podcast have Mike Goldberg in talks for an announcing position with pro wrestling juggernaut WWE. The potential signing comes in the midst of the departure of popular combat sports announcer Mauro Ranallo, who left the company recently after allegations of bullying behavior from broadcast partner John “Bradshaw” Layfield. Ranallo has denied Layfield had anything to do with his departure. Tom Phillips, a longtime WWE announcer, has taken over primary play-by-play duties for Ranallo.
Goldberg’s UFC contract was not renewed following UFC 207 in December of 2016. Goldberg was puzzled by the move when speaking publicly, but continued to fulfill his duties despite UFC President Dana White telling media that he had a replacement in mind for Goldberg before Goldberg was even aware he was being let go.
If Goldberg does sign with WWE, this wouldn’t be his first brush with the company. Goldberg was very close to signing back in late 2005 as UFC was exploding on Spike TV and WWE was moving from Spike to USA Network. Goldberg ended up staying with UFC after he refused to no-show a UFC event going head-to-head with WWE’s return show to USA.
Goldberg spoke to MMATorch editor Wade Keller shortly after the near-signing and had nothing but positive things to say about WWE. “When I was in college, I was a big WrestleMania guy and I’m still a big Hulk Hogan guy,” Goldberg said in an October 2005 Torch Talk. “They do [pro-wrestling] better than anybody in the world and they’re more popular than anybody in the world.”
While allegations of a bullying culture go back much further than Mauro Ranallo’s tenure, Goldberg had no concerns with the workplace culture at WWE back in 2005. “I also have a very dear friend who has worked on the production side for seven years who says it’s a great job; he loves the people; they treat everybody right.”
He also said that he was offered a very generous contract with WWE. “I will just say that the WWE was extremely generous in their offer and would have put me in an extremely comfortable position for myself and my family,” he said at the time.
If Goldberg does sign with WWE, hopefully for he and his family, the contract offer will be “virtually identical.”
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Mike Goldberg in WWE made more sense 12 years ago than it does now, but I think there is a lot about Goldberg that would indicate he’d be a good fit with WWE. He has sports broadcasting experience, which they like, but he also has no professional wrestling broadcast experience, which they also like. His reliance on catchphrases and cliches, while it annoyed many longtime UFC fans, is exactly how WWE likes their announcers to operate. As long as he can conform to many of WWE’s sometimes awkward language rules, they will be happy with him. Age isn’t on his side, as WWE often prefers younger but less seasoned announcers, but they would also likely want a reliable veteran calling one of their two flagship programs. Considering Mauro Ranallo’s tenure there and how that ended, if Mike Goldberg does sign with WWE, it will be very interesting to see how that relationship evolves.
MONDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Nashville drew 10,144 fans for a live gate of $755,180.
-Sage Northcutt’s older sister, Colbey, will be making her MMA debut for Legacy Fighting Alliance in June.
-Bellator Featherweight Champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire was fined $2,500 for climbing on top of the cage following his championship win over Daniel Straus last Friday in Connecticut. Sitting on top of the cage to celebrate a win has been a staple of MMA events for years. Recently, fighters have been fined for leaving the cage following a fight, but this is the first fine for sitting on top of the cage in recent memory. “Are you f—ing serious?” Freire told MMA Fighting. “This is a joke.”
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/23: Al Iaquinta goes off on UFC on Twitter late last night after not getting a bonus (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)