It was just around five years ago that legendary play-by-play caller Mike Goldberg found out his nearly 20-year run with the UFC was over. Goldberg told MMA Fighting after his unceremonious departure from the UFC in 2017 that he was “stunned” about the company’s decision to not renew his contract, and that he was a little upset that UFC president Dana White never even bothered to reach out to him about the move. But Goldberg revealed to Heavy in an exclusive interview that he did eventually get his face-to-face with White, even if it happened by chance and a few years after the fact.
“What the f*** are you doing here?”
That’s what White asked Goldberg upon seeing him. It might look bad on paper, but Goldberg assured me that it’s basically how White greets everyone.
Goldberg was in Las Vegas coaching his son’s team in a local hockey tournament.
“Dad, That’s Dana!”
Those are the surprising words Goldberg’s son hit him with as the two were headed out to their game that day.
Goldberg admits it was kind of nerve-wracking to run into someone who had basically fired him but never actually told him why.
“What do I do here?” Goldberg wondered.
Eventually, he decided.
“I walked up, and I said, ‘Hey, Dana, how are you?'”
White greeted him and his son Cole, and Goldberg reports that the overall experience was mostly positive.
“We shook hands. I said I’d love to stay in touch. He said we should do that. And there you go,” Goldberg said.
Still, the longtime “Voice of the Octagon” also admitted that things were super weird.
“After that amount of time, it was just an awkward situation…,” Goldberg said.
Still, the famed announcer said he was happy to finally have that moment with White, even if it came unintentionally on the UFC boss’s part and arguably way too late.
So Goldberg did eventually get to talk to White after he was let go by the UFC. It just didn’t go the way most people think it probably should have.
“It was a fluke, but then again maybe it was meant to be,” Goldberg said.
You can watch Goldberg chat about all that and more below.
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Goldbert Departed UFC in 2017, Spent Five Years With Bellator
Prior to leaving the UFC in 2017, Goldberg was one of the few remaining figures in the company who actually pre-dated the Zuffa era, including White.
Goldberg’s tenure began in 1997. White and the Fertittas didn’t purchase the company until three years later.
But the UFC was sold to WME-IMG in 2016 for $4.2 billion, and there was some turnover among the staff as the new ownership group took charge.
Goldberg was one of the causalities, but he’s always maintained a pretty healthy perspective on the matter.
“Like I said, I was one out of over a hundred people [who lost their jobs], and I’ve never considered myself more important than the merchandise manager or the social media director or anybody else who lost their gigs. We all lost our gig, and it sucked for each and every one of us…”, Goldberg said.
After leaving the UFC, Goldberg served in the same role for Bellator for five years before something similar happened to him over there.
“Bellator moves to Showtime, and Mauro Ranallo was there and already established…,” Goldberg said.
But Goldberg’s career calling the action has kept going.
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Goldberg Returns to Mic at BYB 6 on July 16
Goldberg’s new gig is with BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Boxing. Goldberg will be calling the action next month alongside retired boxing champ Paulie Malignaggi.
BYB 6 takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The bare-knuckle boxing card is scheduled for July 16, and it will be streamed live via YouTube.
You can see more info about BYB 6 below.
While Goldberg’s days with the UFC might be over, and while he might even have needed to rely on chance or maybe good fortune to get some face time with White after he was let go from the company, Goldberg said he could see himself calling fights for Bellator again in the future now that the pandemic was over.
“So there might be some Bellator in the future as well. I still have a great relationship with Scott Coker and everyone over there,” Goldberg said.
Whatever happens next, Goldberg expressed gratitude for his time with the UFC, Bellator, and all the other stops along the way.
Now, he’s ready to dive headfirst into his new horizon.
“Let’s go on another fun ride because the one I was on with Joe [Rogan] for 19 years was a heck of a lot of fun. I’m excited about it,” Goldberg said.
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