With no promise of a future with the WEC past 2010, veteran sports announcer Joe Martinez
was left with the simple, yet painful, decision of leaving the WEC.
"Golden Boy offered me a deal until 2011 that consists of roughly 98 fights," Martinez told MMAFighting.com. "When I approached the WEC with that information and asked them, 'What do you guys think?' Basically, they said, 'Well, you know, you have to look out for your family. After 2010, we don't have any guarantee as to what's going to be happening: if we need you, if you'll have a contract.'
"With three kids and a baby on the way, I had to look out for my family and that's the decision I made."
Martinez compared his separation with the WEC on Monday to a breakup with a high school sweetheart. A longtime boxing fan, he quickly developed a love for MMA when he was hired by the WEC in 2005.
"Before I could have told you I am a 100% boxing enthusiast, but when I started doing cagefighting, after my second show -- when I really understood what was going on -- I just became a die-hard," he said. "This is pretty awesome. And when I became more knowledgeable about it, and got to meet the guys and just really talk to them because they're mentally -- if you're new to the sport, you think [these fighters], something is missing upstairs, there's got to be a screw loose. But if you get to know them and find out that, I would say, 90% have matriculated through some kind of collegiate experience. They're really intelligent and that turned me into appreciating this sport more."
Martinez is thankful of his tenure with the WEC, aware that he's received more exposure through his work with the WEC in recent years than he has as a professional for 14 years.
While Martinez will be "going back to [his] roots" of boxing with his announcing gig for Golden Boy's Solo Boxeo Tecate
, Martinez, now free to work for other MMA promotions, won't be closing the doors on MMA announcing.
Martinez said: "For me it's about staying involved and being a part of something I really enjoy doing."