Veteran color commentator Jimmy Smith is a free agent after splitting with Bellator MMA recently following a long stint with the second biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the United States.
Smith’s exit was painted as mutual between both the commentator and the promotion. Now, details about the split have been revealed.
Smith appeared on Joe Rogan’s MMA podcast on Tuesday, where he revealed what led to his exit from Bellator MMA after calling fights there for so many years.
According to Smith, Bellator did make an attempt to keep him, but from the sound of things, they wanted to change his pay structure in a new contract and the two sides just couldn’t come to an agreement.
“It’s not a Bellator thing. They were great to work with, they were great about the whole break-up thing,” Smith said. “What happened was I had a deal with an option year and 2018 was my option year. When I was in Verona, New York, doing the Verona show, my boss sat me down and said, ‘we’re not going to renew 2018, we want a different deal’ and when they come to you and say we want a different deal, it’s never [good].
“So that was it. When they were like, ‘we want to change the deal around,’ I was like, okay. They did make an honest effort to keep me. They really tried, but they didn’t make an offer that was worth me coming back. That was pretty much the deal.”
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With Smith’s exit, Bellator will now begin the search for a new color commentator to take over the role with a massive card coming up on Jan. 20 featuring the start of their heavyweight grand prix tournament, as well as a welterweight title fight between Douglas Lima and Rory MacDonald.
As far as his own future goes, Smith obviously would like to get back into calling fights again. Rogan even hinted that the UFC should jump at the chance to bring him on board, but as of yet, there’s been no decision made.
Smith is routinely regarded as one of the best color commentators in MMA, so it probably won’t take long for somebody to snap him up and put him back behind a microphone.
(Courtesy of PowerfulJRE)