When the news broke a couple of days ago that Bellator MMA play-by-play announcer Sean Grande had departed the promotion, there was rampant speculation that former UFC commentator Mike Goldberg would fill the Grande void.
The fact that Grande, who left the promotion because it’s busy schedule was making it more and more difficult for him to juggle multiple jobs, suggested a pair of recently released announcers were likely to replace him, only caused that speculation to intensify.
“A couple of MMA play-by-play veterans who recently ended up on the waiver wire, greatly helped me find peace with this. You’ll be in good hands, and I have a hunch old-school fans are really going to have a blast,” Grande wrote in a letter to MMAFighting.
It didn’t take long for that speculation to come to an end, however, as Bellator announced in a press release on Tuesday night that Goldberg will indeed be part of the promotion’s announcing team for Bellator 180 later this month.
Goldberg was released by the UFC in the embers of 2016 after almost 20 years as the promotion’s play-by-play announcer. He called his last fights for the company at UFC 207 on December 30th. However, he has now signed a “multi-event broadcasting” agreement with North America’s second largest MMA organisation.
The other recently released veteran to which Grande was obviously referring is Mauro Ranallo. Bellator’s press release also confirmed that Ranallo, who recently parted ways with the WWE but has worked with the likes of the now defunct MMA promotions EliteXC, Strikeforce and PRIDE FC, will join Goldberg at the commentary desk for the massive the Pay-per-view event.
“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,” wrote Bellator President Scott Coker in the press release. “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.”
Bellator 180 takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City on June 24th and is headlined by Chael Sonnen vs Wanderlei Silva. Also on the card, is a heavyweight clash between Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitirione, as well as three Bellator title fights.