Despite a lengthy history alongside Joe Rogan as the collective voice of the UFC Octagon, longtime commentator Mike Goldberg was sent off with hardly a farewell following his last show at December 30’s UFC 207 from Las Vegas, Nevada.
The entire situation came as a bit of a shock to the MMA world at first, but when absolutely no explanation was given by Goldberg and UFC President Dana White said that something ‘he’d rather not talk about,’ it all of the sudden didn’t come as much of a surprise in the middle of a seemingly all-out firing blitz from new – and publicly mute – UFC owners WME-IMG.
Today (Mon., January 23, 2017), however, Goldberg finally broke his silence on the subject to Ariel Helwani during The MMA Hour (transcribed by MMA Mania), explaining the cold manner in which he was let go:
“Around December 1, I got the news that my contract would not be renewed. So I was given about a month’s notice and I had a couple of shows left. I had Urijah Faber’s last show, which was awesome. I had the trip to Toronto, and of course UFC 207 was my last show.
“It was a shock, I was speechless and I didn’t know what kind of emotion to have because I was just in a state of shock and disbelief.”
Goldberg also said he hadn’t spoken with White, which he called “surprising and disappointing,” and added he didn’t ask for the reason he was let go because it simply didn’t matter once it reached that point. But even though it was a tough time for him personally, Goldberg took a more selfless stance when he reminded Helwani he was only one of several people who lost their jobs as a result of the UFC sale, something that’s not uncommon in the business world:
“No, not at all, not at all. Here’s the real situation. I’m no different than the guy in merchandise or 15 vice presidents who got let go or the entire team in Canada that was shut down,” he said.
“I am not the only guy that was let go by the new ownership. It was well over 100 people. I’m the one being talked about because I had the high-profile job. But I’m not going to sit here and weep because new ownership came in and I was one of the guys who got cut,” he added.
“I was one of a lot of people, a lot of good people from the ZUFFA era that got caught. So I feel for my co-workers, for my friends as much as I felt for myself. I watched everything around me be shattered. It took 15 years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like it took 15 minutes to destroy it. And it was a really tough time, and it’s still a tough time because there may be more to come. This is not uncommon with an ownership change.”
Indeed a turnover such as this is hardly a rarely-seen event when a large business suddenly finds itself under new ownership, but that doesn’t change the fact that many MMA fans – in addition to Goldberg’s own son – found the famous commentator’s lack of a send-off to be one thing, and that’s classless.
Are you among those who believe the UFC should have given their longtime employee a better farewell?