If you enjoyed the combination of Jim Ross and Sean Wheelock at UR Fight, get ready for more.
Ross and Wheelock will team up again as part of the broadcast team for CBS Sports Network boxing, MMA Fighting has learned. Ross, the legendary former voice of WWE, will be on the call, while Wheelock, the former Bellator play-by-play man, will be providing color commentary. Kevin Kelley, the affable former boxer, will also be a part of the ensemble.
The trio's first show will be April 16 in Las Vegas. Steve Claggett and Chris van Heerden will be the headliners for the Roy Jones Jr. Boxing Promotions bill. CBS Sports Network is planning a regular series of boxing events over the next year.
Wheelock said he had not met Ross until the two worked together with Quinton Jackson for the quirky UR Fight digital production last month, which featured MMA fights, boxing matches, grappling competitions and pro-wrestling bouts. Roy Jones Jr. competed in boxing in the main event against MMA fighter Vyron Phillips, while Chael Sonnen faced Michael Bisping in a submission-wrestling match on the undercard.
While talking at that event in Phoenix, Wheelock said he mentioned in passing to Ross that he'd love to land a gig broadcasting boxing. A former boxing referee, Wheelock was hoping for a role not unlike what former NFL official Mike Pereira does for FOX Sports. One day later, Wheelock said he got a call from a CBS Sports producer saying Ross had recommended him for that very job.
"He is the nicest person," Wheelock said of Ross. "I have been friends with people 20 years in this industry who have never done anything for me. I know him three days and he gets me on a major series. How cool is that? What a great guy."
Ross has done boxing in the past for FOX Sports and also dabbled in MMA here and there. He's most known for being arguably the most famous broadcaster in pro-wrestling history. Wheelock was let go from Bellator last year, but now has play-by-play gigs with Victory FC, which airs on UFC Fight Pass, and ONE Championship. He's also a commissioner on the Kansas Athletic Commission and the chairman of the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) MMA Rules and Regulations Committee.
Wheelock, who also worked for PRIDE and M-1, is hoping to do bring that knowledge of regulation, especially judging, into his role as a boxing analyst.
"Not that I don't want to do play-by-play, I just think because I'm a play-by-play guy in mixed martial arts to have a different role on boxing would be ideal," Wheelock said. "When the producer called me, I told him, 'This is exactly the role I've been telling my agent I wanted.' This is perfect. It's really cool."