Legendary pre wrestling announcer Jim Ross announced last week he had retired after two decades with the WWE. Ross recently appeared on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour and discussed his desire to work in MMA and his long, long time appreciation for the sport.
While Ross is best know as an announcer, he was the World Wrestling Federation Head of Talent Relations during the WWF's years of peak popularity in the 90s. Ross had an extraordinary talent for finding talent from the ranks of competitive sports. Names he brought in include The Rock, Kurt Angle, and Brock Lesnar.
While Ross's departure was announced as a retirement, multiple sources say he was let go by WWE president Vince McMahon, for the third time.
Third time could be a charm, for MMA, as Ross is a man of remarkable talents.
"The most challenging part to me would be to engage in talent development, recruiting the right kind of people for the organization," said Ross. "Any entity like the UFC, the NFL, WWE, it starts with its talent. It starts and ends there. Talent is the reason the people pay to engage in the product."
"The most challenging thing would be to work with talent. That could be a lot of fun. You want personality traits, athleticism, and dedication."
However, his sights are extend to announcing as well.
"I think that, quite frankly this may sound egocentric, but I think the transition from calling a pro wrestling match and calling MMA fights would be easy," said Ross. "I think it would just be getting more familiar with fighters, more familiar with techniques, nuances that I try to study with ample preparation. I'd say the same thing about broadcasting football."
However, Ross says the UFC is his first choice.
"Would you rather broadcast the arena league or the NFL?" said Ross. "The UFC is the NFL. In my opinion, at my stage of the game, for me to be interested in something in the MMA world, it would be the UFC, or somebody has to sell me on the opportunity it would be equally as challenging and equally as rewarding. I'm certainly open minded. I think I'm a good enough businessman not to eliminate any opportunities. But my preference would be the UFC, if that could be my next adventure, my next journey, headed in that direction. I wouldn't close the door on anybody."
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