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Mauro Ranallo on MMA announcing future: ‘I hope it’s with Bellator’

It was a tweet which turned heads in the mixed martial arts world.

Mauro Ranallo is as woven into MMA’s fabric as anyone who has made their mark in the sport. The Abbotsford, British Columbia native has called iconic fights dating back to the heyday of the PRIDE Fighting Championship, was the lead voice of Elite XC and Strikeforce on Showtime, and continues to call some of the sport’s highest-profile moments as part of the Bellator MMA team.

This is in addition to his work as one of the most versatile players in all of sports commentary: He’ll handle play-by-play for the highly anticipated boxing match between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder on Dec. 1, and also does professional wrestling commentary for the WWE.

So when Ranallo dropped a hint over Twitter last month that he might not be calling MMA fights in 2019, his tweet immediately became the source of speculation.

On a recent edition of “The MMA Hour with Luke Thomas,” Ranallo cleared up the intentions behind his tweet and reported that he and his management team are in negotiations to return to the Bellator booth next year.

“Tweeting at certain times is not always smart, as they say,” Ranallo said. “And I was frustrated that day by a lot of things going on internally and externally. I will say that I will continue to do MMA and I hope it will be with Bellator MMA and that we’re negotiating.”

Ranallo has earned praise for his openness with his bipolar disorder, which was chronicled in the critically acclaimed Showtime documentary “Bipolar Rock n Roller.” Ranallo admitted that in a rapidly changing combat sports landscape, which is seeing content shift from network and cable TV over to streaming services, he had a moment of weakness which led to the aforementioned tweet.

“I was in an insecure feeling for me sort of feeling pattern,” Ranallo said. “It was everything going on in the business, and it’s all around us, and we see the proliferation and the growth of all the different channels that have combat sports. I guess I just wanted to send it out there for my own sake to prove to me that I can do it at the highest level and do it on a more regular basis.”

“I’m a workaholic,” Ranallo added. “I have too much free time and my free time leads me to self-sabotage. So I guess it was my way of just saying don’t forget about me I still can do this believe me.”

Ranallo returns to MMA commentary on Dec. 15, when he’ll call Bellator’s Hawaiian debut, as Bellator 213 will be headlined by Ilima Lei-Macfarlane’s featherweight title defense against Valerie Letourneau. Given the amount of time Ranallo has invested as the voice of Scott Coker’s promotions over the years, Ranallo hopes things work out so he can continue calling Bellator fights in 2019 and beyond.

“I love what Scott Coker has done,” Ranallo said. “He’s always been there for me and I will never forget that some of my greatest memories of my career were with Strikeforce and so I hope it’s with Bellator MMA.”

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