Former UFC commentator Mike Goldberg has revealed that he did eventually get closure with Dana White.
The play-by-play commentator was a vital figure in the early days of the mixed-martial-arts promotion. In 1997, made his debut on UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan, and was the man behind the mic as Kazushi Sakuraba fought his way through the heavyweight tournament.
For the next two decades, he would remain a constant fixture on UFC broadcasts. In 2002, Goldberg become one-half of the iconic commentating duo alongside Joe Rogan. While the latter still works for the promotion today, the Ohio native wasn’t as lucky.
Just two days before UFC 207 in December 2016, the UFC announced the event would be Mike Goldberg’s last. Dana White noted at the time that it was just business, and nothing personal. Despite rumors of a major name, possibly even Jim Rome, replacing Goldberg, it was instead Jon Anik who got the nod.
Six years later, Mike Goldberg reflected on his dismissal on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. The commentator noted that he’s very proud of his work with the UFC, but his exit didn’t go over well.
While he didn’t say goodbye to White as an employee, the two saw each other the following year. According to Goldberg, the pair had a great conversation, that gave him a lot of closure on his UFC stint.
“And when I saw Dana about. I’m going to say probably about a year-and-a-half later,” stated Goldberg on The MMA Hour. “So this was after my departure — we were in Las Vegas, my son had a hockey tournament and I was coaching. We were staying at Red Rock, still using those Fertitta connections, of course. And I walk out and I see Dana in the valet area with a couple of buddies and he’s getting into his car, he’s leaving probably after a dinner or a little bit of gambling as we know with the UFC president Dana White. And my son Cole looks at me, he goes, ‘Dad, that’s Dana.’ And honestly, I froze, I did not know what to do.” (h/t MMAFighting)
“Do I say hello? Do I not? What do I do?” Goldberg continued. “And I’m usually a guy who’s got a pretty good instinct, and my son, God bless him, he’s like, ‘Dad, go say hi.’ And I did and I shook his hand and I said, ‘Thank you for everything.’ I said, ‘I hope we can stay in touch and I wish you nothing but the ultimate in success in everything that continues in the UFC, and always be thankful for it.’ So it was it was a great moment of, I guess, closure at a time. Because of the way that the ending went.”
He concluded, “And like I said, I should’ve been the one to thank Dana and not waited and then have a little bit of negative come out of it. Because Dana White was great to me. He was great to me and he was supportive of me.”
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