Mike Goldberg began working for the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1997. On Dec. 28 at UFC 207, Goldberg did play-by-play for his final UFC event. The fight promotion opted to not to renew the commentator’s contract in a move that left the Goldberg in a state of shock and disbelief.
“I got the news that my contract would not be renewed, and so I was given about a months notice,” Goldberg said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “I was a shock. I was speechless. I didn’t know what type of emotion to have, because I was just in a state of shock and disbelief.”
Goldberg found out on Dec. 1 that he would no longer be an employee of the UFC. After receiving the news, the Ohio native still had events to work and decided to be the professional that he’s always been.
“Characters are revealed in times of adversity. That’s what drove me. The most important thing to me as a professional was to continue to do the best I could do on every single broadcast. To not alter my studies in anyway possible. To not change anything. To not have any on air effect, to go out as a professional,” he said.
Goldberg had been employed by the fight promotion for 19 years. When handed his walking papers, he was not given a reason for his termination.
“Not at all. Not at all,” he said when asked if he was giving an explanation for his firing.
In May 2016, the UFC was sold from Zuffa LLC to WME-IMG for $4.2 billion. The new owners immediately began cutting costs and several longtime employees were released. Goldberg was just one of many.
“Here’s the real situation,” Goldberg said. “I’m no different from the guy in merchandise, or the fifteen vice presidents who got let go, or the entire team in Canada that was shut down. I’m not the only guy who got let go by the new ownership.
“I was one of a lot of people, and a lot of good people from the Zuffa era who got cut[…]I watched everything around me be shattered. It took fifteen years to build this wonderful family, and it felt like fifteen minutes to destroy it.
“What reason were they going to give me and would that make me feel any better or any worse? No, not at all. Honestly, I just felt respect for the other members of the family who got released, and I’m not better than any of these guys. It’s extremely disappointing don’t get me wrong, but mostly disappointing because of what happened to our family.”
Since his termination, Goldberg hasn’t been in contact with anyone at the UFC. He described that as ‘disappointing.’
“No conversations, no contact, nothing,” Goldberg said. “Nothing. Which was surprising, disappointing certainly, but nothing was said. I got to live with that, and at the end of the day what matters to me is my family, my children.. But there was no conversation, no nothing at all.”
The UFC chapter of his career has closed, but Goldberg plans to continue a career in the sport.
“MMA is part of my life,” he said. “I’m probably going to continue being a part of MMA, I sure would like to be.”