EXCLUSIVE | Mike Goldberg Discusses His UFC Career, Almost Going to WWE and the “New Prodigies” of MMA | BJPENN.COM Radio
Long time UFC commentator Mike “Goldie” Goldberg joined BJPENN.COM Radio this past Wednesday, April 10 to discuss, among other things, his time as a commentator in the world’s premiere mixed martial arts organization.
In the beginning, Goldberg was drawn to the “Super Bowl of MMA” because of the traction that the sport was gaining, as well as the adrenaline rush that comes with watching a fight between two seasoned professionals.
“You know what, it was the energy of the sport. It was the way that crowd reacted, it was the way that the athletes left it all inside the Octagon, and just the warrior mentality of these guys doing battle” Goldberg started. “It’s still reckless abandon in it’s own right, I mean there’s cerebral fighters who know how to defend themselves, but there’s still a sense of reckless abandon when two guys step into a cage with one man in-between them, they lock the gate and they go at it.”
From his time training with well-known figures in the MMA community and talking fighting with the likes of BJ Penn and Marcus Davis, Goldberg has gained a few friends in the UFC. Despite his professional and personal relationships with the best fighters in the world, Goldberg noted that both he and long time broadcast partner Joe Rogan are still just a couple of fans who lucked out.
“At the end of the day, what you have in Joe and I are just two really big, passionate fans of mixed martial arts. And just like the guy watching at home, the guy sparring with his buddies, the guy in front of his computer that loves the battles; we’re the same as all those people, and I think that’s why Joe and I have been blessed to have some decent success in this business in calling fights for so many years. At the end of the day, we’re kind of two guys at the end of the bar talking fights with everybody else, we’re just blessed that everybody gets to listen to us break it down.”
Having worked in the UFC for over 15 years, Goldberg’s status as an expert of mixed martial arts is irrefutable. Not only has the time he’s spent commentating given him an outlet to express his love for fighting, but it has also helped him see the progression of the sport as a whole.
According to one of the voices of the Ocatgon, if you aren’t a well-rounded fighter then your strengths will only get you so far before you’re exploited in a fight.
“We’ve got a ton of prodigies out there now, and it used to be if you were a double threat, you had it down. I mean look at Chuck: Chuck was a double threat, Chuck was able to use his wrestling in reverse and force people to stand with him, and then he would knock him out. But Chuck wasn’t submitting anybody-not that he doesn’t have [jiu-jitsu] but he never forced to use it. And obviously BJ [Penn] was the same deal; BJ never worried about striking, never worried about getting in fights, never cared about being taken down because most times, even from his back, he was the better fighter in that position because BJ’s jiu-jitsu was so incredible and on a totally different level than anybody else’s.”
Despite an offer from World Wrestling Entertainment in 2005 to be the lead commentator for their flagship program Monday Nigh Raw, Goldberg stuck with his passion and it has led him to a level of recognition mirrored by the likes of John Madden in professional football. As a commentator, Goldberg and Rogan have become the go-to team to call a fight; an honor that Goldberg won’t soon forget.
“It’s pretty humbling when people start naming my heroes off and my mentors off, and talk about how Joe and I are the equivalent of that I mixed martial arts. It’s definitely something I’m very proud of, but it’s not quite time to reflect until it’s reflection time, and I’ve still got a lot of hard work to do as this sport evolves and continues to challenge me as a broadcaster, and that’s what I focus on. But yeah, it’s definitely something I’m very proud of and feel very blessed about.”
To hear Mike Goldberg’s full-length interview in its entirety, including his thoughts on calling fights involving his friends, how to offset the awkwardness of a boring fight and some of his favorite fights to call, listen to the player below or visit the BJPENN.COM radio channel and listen on demand.