Weeks after seemingly splitting with Bellator over what he termed an "unacceptable" contract offer, Jimmy Smith
has signed a new deal to return to the promotion as their color commentator, MMA Fighting has learned.
Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney confirmed that the two sides have reached a three-year deal with Smith, who has been the promotion's analyst since season two.
Smith will be back with his regular broadcast partner, play-by-play man Sean Wheelock. The promotion's fourth season will begin on March 5 and air on Saturday nights on MTV2.
"Jimmy is the best in the business, and he and Sean are a spectacular team," Rebney told MMA Fighting. "There were some hurdles to make a deal happen, but we're happy to get it done, and absolutely thrilled to have Jimmy back."
Smith fought professionally, going 5-1 in his pro career, though he has not fought since 2006. He became Bellator's color commentator in season two, taking over for Jason Chambers, who he ironically defeated in his last bout as an active fighter.
Just weeks ago, in December, Smith told Middleasy.com
that a return to the Bellator booth wasn't looking good, saying, "It's possible that they can come back the eleventh hour and say 'we want you back, here's the deal', but that looks increasingly unlikely is the best way I can put it."
The new contract not only has him back, but locked up for the foreseeable future.
"This team will be together for years to come," Rebney said. "We have a pure play-by-play guy and color guy, and I think what we have right now is the best announcing team in the sport."