Mike Goldberg On UFC Departure: ‘I Watched Everything Around Me Be Shattered’
Play-by-play announced Mike Goldberg was the voice of UFC, which is why his abrupt release from the company was so disappointing. Hell, it was downright heartbreaking, considering he’s spent 20 years with the company.
Naturally, Goldberg is still getting over being let go by the new UFC owners. It’s a change to the announce booth that, even now, makes almost zero sense, especially when you factor in what a fixture Goldberg has been in UFC alongside broadcast partner Joe Rogan. It’s only natural that Goldberg would be stunned, as he admitted to the hosts of The MMA Hour.
“It was a shock,” Goldberg said. “I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotion to have, because I was just in a state of shock and disbelief. People love that warm, fuzzy blanket. That’s what you were describing a second ago, and Joe and I have been that warm, fuzzy blanket for a long time when it came to the UFC. Everybody gets new blankets and they get new furniture, but at the end of the day, when you cuddle up on a Sunday and you watch football, that blanket in the corner that’s got holes in it, and it’s kinda smelly but that’s your blanket, that’s the one you utilize.
“Joe and I have been so blessed and fortunate to be — and I love the description, ‘the soundtrack’ — so blessed and fortunate to be the soundtrack of the UFC for so long, that it really was, I was in shock and disbelief for that reason.”
Entertainment company WME-IMG, the new owners of the UFC, have recently gone on a complete tear, releasing longtime employees left and right. In many instances, the people being let go aren’t given any sort of reason. Goldberg was one of the people let go without a reason, although he didn’t necessarily press for one either. However, his sympathies are more with lower level employees who’ve suddenly found themselves out of work.
“I’m no different than the guy in merchandise, or the 15 vice presidents who got let go, or the entire team in Canada that was shut down,” Goldberg said. “I’m not the only guy who was let go by the new ownership. Well over 100 people [were let go], and good friends of both yours and mine. 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. I was one of a lot of people, and a lot of good people, from the Zuffa era who got cut. And so I felt for my co-workers, for my friends, as much as I felt for myself.
“I watched everything around me be shattered,” Goldberg continued. “It took 15 years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like it was taking 15 minutes to destroy it. And it just was a really tough time, and it may still be tough. There may be more to come throughout the UFC family. This is not uncommon in an ownership change with anything. It might just be corporate America, it might be on Wall Street. In this instance, it’s a sports property.
“So what reason were they going to give me? And would that make me feel any better or any worse? No, not at all. So honestly, I just felt respect for the other members of the family that also were released, and I’m no better than any of those guys. So, it is what it is. Extremely disappointing, don’t get me wrong. But mostly disappointing because our family has really been torn, and that’s what I’ll miss the most.”
It’s an interesting interview, and well worth watching in full. You can check it out by clicking here.
Ultimately, I think UFC did a terrible job handling the Goldberg situation. As a veteran of two decades, Goldberg really deserved the opportunity to say his goodbyes on-air. Hell, they should have made him a farewell video package, at the very least. It just reads as disrespectful to just shunt him off to the side after so long. Hopefully, Goldberg lands on his feet somewhere else, and shows UFC’s new owners why this was such a mistake.
But what do you think of how UFC handled the Mike Goldberg situation? Sound off in the comments!