It looks like the change in networks and a crazy grand prix tournament aren’t the only shake-ups over at Bellator. As per an official Paramount Sports and Bellator press release, Jimmy Smith has parted ways with the company. A former MMA fighter himself, Smith provided knowledgeable insight as well and entertaining dialogue seamlessly for many years with the fighting organization. Both Bellator and Smith have released statements on the sudden change.
“Jimmy [Smith] is one of the finest combat sports announcers of our time. He has played an integral role in the growth of Bellator as it has evolved into the successful global franchise it is today.” — Bellator via press release.
So far there are no reasons being revealed for the move, other than Jimmy Smith’s contract running out and Bellator not decided to renew. This could have something to do with the change from Spike into the new Paramount network, but that is just speculation. However, the press release did state that the exit was mutual. After nearly a decade with the organization, Jimmy Smith was all class in his departure from the company
“I am very grateful to the entire Bellator organization and fans for an amazing and unforgettable nine years. 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.” — Jimmy Smith via press release.
According to MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani, Chael Sonnen will not move into a more prominent role in the booths when he is not fighting. Former UFC heavyweight champion and fellow Bellator heavyweight grand prix entrant Frank Mir seems to also be in the running. With those guys as well as legend Mauro Ranallo and Mike Goldberg on the mics, it looks like they are in good hands. However, Jimmy Smith was a consummate professional and will be missed just like when Goldberg himself parted ways with the UFC. We wish him the best.
Jimmy Smith is no longer the commentator for Bellator. Statement from both parties: pic.twitter.com/TlHaOQHKeQ
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) December 28, 2017
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 12/28/2017.