Saturday, January 23, 2021

Mike Goldberg Explains Story Behind Sitting In The Crowd At UFC Fight Night 103

After wrapping up his nearly 20-year career with the Ultimate Fighting Championship at the UFC 207: Rousey vs. Nunes pay-per-view this past December, longtime UFC announcer Mike Goldberg popped up in the crowd at the Talking Stick Resort Arena in his hometown of Phoenix, Arizona to watch his friend and UFC Hall Of Famer B.J. Penn come out of retirement for a main event bout with Yair Rodriguez.

During a recent episode of Ariel Helwani’s popular weekly webcast, “The MMA Hour,” which airs every Monday afternoon at, Goldberg explained the story behind being spotted in the crowd as “just another fan” only two weeks and change after his final assignment alongside longtime broadcast partner Joe Rogan for the Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes-led UFC 207 event at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“B.J. Penn is one of my best friends,” Goldberg told Helwani during the live interview. “B.J. Penn is one of my favorite people in the world, and I went that night for B.J. Penn.”

Goldberg continued, “I also went to that fight that night in my hometown to say thank you, because going back to what you had asked about [UFC] 207 — everything was very laser-focused on the direct people who were with me and back in the dressing room. I didn’t get [a chance] to say thank you to the Reed Harrises and the Joe Williams’, and Mike The Photographers and everybody else in the truck, because I didn’t see them.”

He would go on to explain that he received suite tickets to the aforementioned Penn vs. Rodriguez headlined event and that other friends — including his father — tried to convince him not to attend a UFC event live with the sourness and bitterness of his unceremonious release from the promotion after two decades of loyal service still so fresh, Goldberg noted that he took the experience in stride.

“We went around the concourse and the fans were great. I was thanking them, they were thanking me,” said Goldberg. “We did it again during the main card and we’re walking around and I said, ‘I’m going to go down and try to find a seat … I just want to get a little closer to watch B.J.’

“Random row. I go down [and] I see empty seats,” Goldberg added. “I sit down with these dudes in front of me [and] I go, ‘[Is] anybody sitting here?’ They’re like, ‘No, no, no! Ohhhh! Mike Goldberg! Mike Goldberg!’ Random seats … it could’ve been one in 18,000.”

From there, Goldberg told the story behind the photo of himself with a group of fans in the crowd looking and posing for the camera that made the rounds via the internet.

“I see the camera come up and the lights are on, [so] I know it’s one of [the] live cameras,” said Goldberg. “It’s one of the Steadicams where they come around and get crowd shots. So I see the light on [and] I give ‘the shaka.'”

Goldberg added, “This [was] what [I was] thinking — ‘Okay, they’ve spotted me in the crowd and the truck is saying hello. They’re in [a] commercial break because they’re certainly not putting me on TV … of course they’re not putting me on TV, they’re in [a] commercial break.’ So, I’m like — ‘What’s up?’ Because I think I’m saying hi to my buddies — Anthony Giordano and everybody in the truck. I’m just saying hi, right?”

As it turns out, he wasn’t just saying hello to his old co-workers, he was saying hello to his old audience of millions live on FOX Sports 1.

“[I can] imagine the production truck now — “Joe Lauzon! They go, ‘take three’ or whatever to that crowd shot and out pops Goldy! ‘Ohhhh, just think about it for a second! One of 18,000 seats. One of how many crowd shots? They could’ve taken any camera other than that — it was just meant to be.”

Check out Ariel Helwani’s complete Mike Goldberg interview from “The MMA Hour” below or by clicking here.