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If you can’t buy star fighters, buy the next best star power on TV

By Zach Arnold | June 13, 2017

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Viacom and Bellator management is playing a smart game in competing against UFC on the edges. When you can’t always buy top-level fighters, the next best thing is to buy high-profile television names who fans know and/or have an emotional connection with.

The hirings of Messrs. Goldberg & Ranallo for Bellator’s New York PPV signal a strategic reality for building trust with new and casual MMA fans. For many UFC fans past and present, Mike Goldberg was the face of UFC. Mike Goldberg was the face of UFC. More importantly, Mike Goldberg was the face of the old UFC. The UFC owned by Lorenzo Fertitta that felt more stable than the current WME-IMG product. The current UFC fired Mike Goldberg and gave the media a sob story to run with that made Dana White look cold.

The best thing about having star TV personalities that aren’t fighters? They never get hurt and always show up.

The circumstances surrounding Mauro Ranallo’s hiring are even more intriguing after settling with WWE. If allowed, Vince McMahon could have really found his Jim Ross. In the fight business, the voice matters just as much as the fighters in telling a story. The pairing of Goldberg & Ranallo may feel unusual on paper but I think it holds a lot of potential. A laid back yet in-command Goldberg with high-energy storyteller Ranallo has the chance to produce some smart, funny, and edgy commentary.

I have no problem with the current UFC roster of announcers. I like them. I don’t necessary love them. Professional and serviceable. Nothing offensive. What separates the good from great announcers is emotion. Creating emotion or channeling emotion.

There’s no better example of the value of emotion in a fight call than comparing the performances of Jim Lampley (HBO) and Colonel Bob Sheridan when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson at the Tokyo Dome in 1990. Lampley was in shock but not boisteriously so. The Colonel went crazy and it was specactular. It’s the first thing I automatically recall besides Tyson losing his mouthpiece on the canvas.

There’s never a true substitute for having great fighters but having great television personalities who can tell a story, channel emotion, and communicate history is extremely valuable. Three cheers to Bellator and Viacom.

Topics: Bellator, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

2 Responses to “If you can’t buy star fighters, buy the next best star power on TV”

  1. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Bad move. Both of those guys are head nodders requiring pairing with more knowledgeable and bombastic announce partners. I cringe whenever I hear Mauro in Pride mispronouncing the japanese fighters names.

  2. King Famous says:

    This is a good move. This will be perceived as one of the best announcers of the old UFC and one of the most popular announcers ever in combat sports coming together.
    Sorry you don’t like Mauro, but he is simply one of the best. He makes average fights exciting and great fights unforgettable.

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