Sean Grande is leaving Bellator, opening the door for one (or more) big names to step in for him.
Bellator play-by-play announcer Sean Grande will give up his position ahead of the promotion’s New York City pay-per-view later this month. In a long letter penned to MMA Fighting, Grande announced his departure and the reasons for it, and teased a big name or two as his replacement.
In his letter, he cites his son and his other job as the NBA’s Boston Celtics’ radio voice as the primary issues that conflicted with Bellator’s increasingly busy schedule. Although he makes it clear that he would have tried to make everything work, ultimately it was decided that he would move on. He then cites two fellow MMA announcers as people that helped him through the process, and hints that one or both will be getting his job:
“And as a casual, internal discussion ramped up, there was just no geographic, logistical math that said I could keep up that pace.
Have no illusions. I didn’t, I don’t want to walk away. Certainly not today. I was ready, willing and wanting to continue on, as I promised you I would two years ago. My first choice would certainly have been to stay with the Celtics, while doing as many Bellator shows as I was physically and contractually able. But two things were becoming clear. One, the new Bellator schedule with its heavy Fall/Winter and international leanings were in direct, overwhelming conflict with the NBA. And two, I think we all agreed that the new Bellator, the 2017 Bellator has grown to the point it deserves a voice, maybe even more than one, that can make it his (or her) top priority.
A couple of MMA play-by-play veterans who recently ended up on the waiver wire, greatly helped me find peace with this. You’ll be in good hands, and I have a hunch old-school fans are really going to have a blast.”
One of those two MMA play-by-play vets is obviously Mike Goldberg, who left the UFC after the purchase of the company by WME-IMG. The other is likely Mauro Ranallo, who was the voice of Strikeforce on Showtime and also continues to cover boxing for the network. He signed with the WWE in December 2015, but left the company in April after 16 months of work on their Smackdown program.
It’s pretty clear that one or both will be working the June 24th PPV based on Grande’s hints. I’d expect Bellator to announce that sometime soon. The show will be headlined by a grudge match between Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva, with Fedor Emelianenko fighting Matt Mitrione in the co-main event.