Longtime color commentator Jimmy Smith will no longer announce fights for Bellator MMA.
A press released issued by the company on Thursday announced that the company and the popular announcer “have mutually agreed to part ways.” The release did not give a reason for the decision.
Additionally, sources tell MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani that Chael Sonnen will be a frequent presence in Bellator’s announce booth, and Frank Mir, who earned plaudits several years ago for his work as a WEC color commentator, is also expected to be in the mix.
Considered one of the most astute and incisive commentators in the MMA landscape, Smith, who had a brief pro MMA career before going into announcing full-time, had been with the company for nine years. He formed a longtime combination with play-by-play man Sean Wheelock, then was partnered with Sean Grande.
This year featured a rotating booth with Smith teaming at different times with the veteran announcers Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo.
“Jimmy is one of the finest combat sports announcers of our time,” the press release read. “He has played an integral role in the growth of Bellator as it has evolved into the successful global franchise it is today.”
The release also included a statement from Smith.
"I am very grateful to the entire Bellator organization and fans for an amazing and unforgettable nine years,” Smith stated. “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.”