It didn’t take long for veteran mixed martial arts commentator Jimmy Smith to find a new home.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced Friday that Smith will join its broadcast team to help call Fox Sports and pay-per-view events as well as pre-fight programming. Smith’s debut event with the promotion was not announced.
“I am honored to join the world’s premier combat sports brand in 2018,” Smith said in a 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.”
A long-time analyst for Bellator MMA, Smith and the California-based organization parted ways at the end of 2017. In a brief statement, the promotion said the decision was mutual. Smith, meanwhile, revealed on Joe Rogan’s "JRE MMA Show” podcast that he was unable to come to terms with Bellator on a deal that satisfied him.
“They said, ‘We want to change the deal around. They did make an honest effort to keep me,” Smith said. “They really tried, they just – they didn’t make me an offer that was worth me coming back. That was the deal.”
Meanwhile, Rogan, a longtime staple of the UFC broadcast team, said that he urged the Las Vegas-based promotion to sign Smith years ago.
“I tried to get Jimmy Smith hired by the UFC four years ago,” Rogan said. “I was like, ‘Dude, you want better people? You want more people? Hire that f---ing guy. He knows what he’s doing, he’s excited, and he loves the sport. I was telling him you’re a great guy, he’s genuine, he’s a real fan, and he’s (expletive) good at it. Go get him.’
“You f—-ed up, Bellator,” he continued. “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.”
UFC has announced the signing of former Bellator MMA commentator Jimmy Smith: pic.twitter.com/rVEwgNoeUM— Mike Fridley (@mikefridley) January 12, 2018