Jimmy Smith served as a UFC commentator for the duration of 2018, but in 2019, the promotion decided not to renew his contract. Instead, he explained on The MMA Hour, they’re planning on hiring more fighters as commentators.
“Very simply it was, ‘you’re great, fantastic, we love everything you did but we’re going with UFC fighters for 2019. So, that’s it,” Smith said (transcript via SportsJoe.ie).
“I don’t think I’m leaving out any syllables. That was literally the conversation. It was, ‘loved everything you did but with fewer shows, we’re going with UFC fighters for those shows. Other than Joe [Rogan] it’s all UFC fighters, that’s it. We had no issue with your performance, everybody loved you, but you didn’t fight in the UFC,’ so that’s it.”
Jimmy Smith continued, sharing his thoughts on why the UFC is turning to its fighters to fill its commentary roles. He sees it as another way for the promotion to keep the fighters in check.
“What’s the message that sends to people who are fighting? If you’re on the team, you’ll get airtime. If you play ball, you’ll get airtime. You might get a desk job.
“These guys don’t have a parachute. They don’t have anything at the end so it’s another incentive, that they might be on the commentary team.
“Even beyond what the fans think and how they do the job and all these things, from their point of view everything is in house. You’re using people who might be at the end of their career and might need a little incentive.
“They’re saying, ‘You might get on the Fox desk a little bit. You might have something when it’s all over.’ Do the fans care? Maybe, maybe not.
“They have to learn how to do the job on the job, which is hard. But it also gives the UFC another incentive for their fighters and that’s important. From their point of view, it’s kind of another carrot and stick for fighters.”
What do you think of this comment from Jimmy Smith?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 1/9/2019.