Mike Goldberg's four-year tenure with the Bellator Fighting Championship has come to an end. In an interview with the New York Post, Bellator President Scott Coker announced Goldie's release from the promotion.
Before starting with Bellator FC, Mike Goldberg was a UFC commentator for 19 long years, from 1997 to 2016. Goldberg made his UFC debut as a commentator at UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan event in December 1997.
He went on to serve as the lead play-by-play commentator until the UFC released him in December 2016. In 2005, it was reported that Goldberg rejected an exclusive WWE contract and chose to continue with a career in the UFC.
Mike Goldberg's pairing with Joe Rogan was an inseparable aspect of the UFC experience throughout the Zuffa Era. While Goldberg mostly adhered to play-by-play updates of the fights, Rogan covered the technical part.
Both Goldie and Rogan earned a broad fan base. However, Mike Goldberg also earned harsh criticism during his tenure with the UFC - primarily due to inaccurate descriptions. Overall, he was enjoying a healthy relationship with the UFC until he wasn't.
Mike Goldberg's UFC departure was shocking
Mike Goldberg's UFC departure came as a surprise to UFC fans. Goldberg was unceremoniously released from the promotion after the UFC 207 pay-per-view event in December 2017.
Despite being a part of the UFC's broadcast team for almost two decades, no farewell or tribute was given to Mike Goldberg in the UFC 207 broadcast. However, Goldberg conducted the commentary with the same level of professionalism that he was always known for.
He later expressed his disappointment during the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Goldberg said his release was as surprising to him as it was to the rest of the MMA community.
He also revealed that UFC president Dana White never spoke to him about the UFC's decision despite the longstanding professional relationship between the two.
"It took 15 years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like it took 15 minutes to destroy it," Goldberg said. "I love the UFC brand, and I represented it in the way that I was asked to for two decades. ...It was somewhat of a bummer, to say the least. No conversations (with Dana White), no contact. Nothing, really Nothing. Which was surprising. Disappointing, certainly. But nothing was said, and I’ve got to live with that. At the end of the day, what matters to me is my family, my children. But no, to answer your question directly, there was no conversation. Nothing at all."
Mike Goldberg's release was a part of a bigger change after Endeavor's purchase of the UFC in 2016. Many high-ranking executives and UFC's team in Canada were laid off along with Goldberg.