Color commentator Jimmy Smith is a free agent
Competition is good for fighters, and it may be good for other professionals in the MMA space as well. The highly-respected longtime Bellator MMA color commentator and former fighter Jimmy Smith is no longer with the company, after a nine-year run. His prior contract was up, and Smith and although Bellator apparently could not come to terms, the split appears entirely respectful.
“After a long and successful relationship, Jimmy Smith and Bellator have mutually agreed to part ways,” read the official Bellator press release. “Jimmy is one of the finest combat sports announcers of our time. He has played an integral role in the growth of Bellator as it has evolved into the successful global franchise it is today. The Paramount Network sports production team and Bellator MMA would like to thank Jimmy for his great work behind the mic over the years and wish him all the best in the future.”
Smith too is quoted in the release.
“I am very grateful to the entire Bellator organization and fans for an amazing and unforgettable nine years,” he said. “As I move on to the next phase in my career, I want to wish all of the fighters, producers, and Bellator staff the absolute best.”
Smith long worked with play-by-play commentator Sean Wheelock, who was replaced in 2005 by Sean Grande. Earlier this year Grande moved on, and Bellator signed Mauro Ranallo and Mike Goldberg. Chael Sonnen and Frank Mir will reportedly be working in future as well.
And the UFC is rumored to be interested in signing Smith, hopefully for even more than he was making at Bellator.