Long-time UFC play-by-play commentator Mike Goldberg has spoken out about his surprise and disappointment at having been cut from the UFC broadcast team at the end of 2016.
“I got the news that my contract would not be renewed, and so I was given about a months notice,” Goldberg told Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour’. “I was in shock. I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotion to have, because I was just in a state of shock and disbelief.”
Nevertheless, Goldberg vowed to bow out of the UFC in as professional a manner as he could, and as such he gave no indication during his final on-air broadcasts about the drama that was going on behind-the-scenes.
“Characters are revealed in times of adversity. That’s what drove me. The most important thing to me as a professional was to continue to do the best I could do on every single broadcast. To not alter my studies in anyway possible. To not change anything. To not have any on air effect, to go out as a professional.”
Despite having been with the company for almost 20 years, Goldberg says he was given no explanation as to why he was being released, and hasn’t heard from the company since his exit following UFC 207.
“No conversations, no contact, nothing,” Goldberg said. “Nothing. Which was surprising, disappointing certainly, but nothing was said. I got to live with that, and at the end of the day what matters to me is my family, my children.. But there was no conversation, no nothing at all.”
Trying to remain philosophical about the situation, Goldberg pointed out that he was just one of many long-time employees who the UFC’s new owners WME-IMG had swung the axe on since they took the reigns back in July of last year.
“Here’s the real situation,” Goldberg said. “I’m no different from the guy in merchandise, or the fifteen vice presidents who got let go, or the entire team in Canada that was shut down. I’m not the only guy who got let go by the new ownership.
“I was one of a lot of people, and a lot of good people from the Zuffa era who got cut[…]I watched everything around me be shattered. It took fifteen years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like fifteen minutes to destroy it.
“What reason were they going to give me and would that make me feel any better or any worse? No, not at all. Honestly, I just felt respect for the other members of the family who got released, and I’m not better than any of these guys. It’s extremely disappointing don’t get me wrong, but mostly disappointing because of what happened to our family.”
Speaking of which, Goldberg admitted that tears flowed backstage after UFC 207 as he and his fellow co-workers tried to come to terms with the end of an era.
“We all sat there as the building was cleared, and we actually all got in the Octagon and did pictures. Joe and I had a couple of big hugs. There were tears. There was confusion. Disbelief, for sure. Frosty, our longtime audio guy, it was his last show. It was Kru Mark DellaGrotte’s last show. Again, going back to the family, and it was emotional. Being with my stage manager for all of those years, we did pictures. We haven’t done pictures in the Octagon in about 100 years, but (we) did that night. And we all went back to the dressing room, and Bruce Connal, our longtime producer, and Anthony Giordano, we all just sat there for about an hour and we just shook our heads. Like, how is this happening? How is this ending? Back to the shock and disbelief.
“But we cherished that time together, and like I said, there were hugs, there were tears. But there’s one thing for sure, and there’s one thing that will never be taken away, and that’s our friendship, and that’s the great run and the memories that we’ve had together.”
Looking to the future, Goldberg revealed that he still hopes to be a part of mixed martial arts if at all possible.
“MMA is part of my life,” Goldberg said. “I’m probably going to continue being a part of MMA, I sure would like to be.”