Less than one month after parting ways with Bellator, color commentator Jimmy Smith has a job with MMA’s industry leader.
The UFC today announced Smith will join its ranks for a to-be-determined debut. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“I am honored to join the world’s premier combat sports brand in 2018,” Smith stated in a press release. “It is a privilege to call fights for a living, and I can’t wait to join the tremendous UFC broadcast team to call the best fights in the world. To the UFC fans, I am thrilled to join you for this wild ride. See you all very soon.”
Smith also tweeted about his new gig:
Bellator announced Smith’s departure late this past month, stating the split was amicable. Smith backed that account and said the two sides couldn’t come to terms on a new contract after an extended negotiation period.
“They did make an honest effort to keep me,” he said. “They really tried, they just – they didn’t make me an offer that was worth me coming back. That was the deal.”
Bellator subsequently hired veteran referee “Big” John McCarthy as a color commentator. In an interview with MMAjunkie, McCarthy said he was called for the job one day after Smith’s announced departure.
Smith’s hiring by the UFC is no great surprise given the powerful endorsements he received. Longtime UFC commentator Joe Rogan said the Viacom-owned Bellator erred when it didn’t come to terms on a new contract, and he said the UFC should come to the table.
“You (expletive) up, Bellator,” Rogan said. “I’ve been telling everybody Jimmy Smith’s the best out there, and you let him go. That’s a huge error on their part. I would be thrilled if somehow or another they were able to work it out where Jimmy Smith was at the UFC. That would be what I would like to see.”
Smith’s role in the UFC includes color commentary for events broadcast on FOX, FS1 and pay-per-view – in addition to pre-fight programming, according to the release. He joins a team that currently includes Rogan, Jon Anik, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz, Paul Felder, Brandon Fitzgerald, Dan Hellie, Dan Hardy and John Gooden.
“We’re very excited to have Jimmy Smith join the UFC production team and look forward to working him into a variety of different on-air talent roles,” UFC Executive VP of Operations and Production Craig Borsari stated. “Jimmy’s extensive experience in mixed martial arts gives him a unique voice and great insight to breakdown the intricacies of our sport. We are excited to welcome him to the family.”
For more on the UFC’s upcoming schedule, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
- Vitor Belfort says he really is retiring after UFC Fight Night 124, ready for 'second journey'
- Stream or download MMAjunkie Radio #2598 with Henry Corrales
- What kind of person wants to watch a woman fight a man?
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Jimmy Smith signs with UFC as color commentator