Mike Goldberg Explains Why ONE Talks Broke Down With Chatri Sityodtong

Renowned combat sports commentator Mike Goldberg has explained why he ultimately ended up under the banner of Bellator MMA rather than ONE Championship following his UFC exit.

Goldberg quickly rose to prominence as one of mixed martial arts’ leading voices on the sport’s biggest stage, where he provided play-by-play commentary for a 20-year period between 1997 and 2017. He was released as part of budget cuts shortly after the UFC was acquired by entertainment giant WME-IMG in July 2016.

As an iconic figure in the sport, well known for the commentary he provided over some memorable UFC events and his patented lines, Goldberg was a sought-after figure in 2017, eventually striking a deal with Bellator MMA.

However, things may have played out very differently had it not been for the actions of ONE Championship founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong…

Goldberg Recalls Sityodtong’s “Hurt” Reaction To Bellator Mention

During a recent appearance on a now-unlisted episode of the TimboSugarShow, hosted by UFC bantamweight contender Sean O’Malley and his coach Tim Welch, Goldberg recalled his brief period of free agency.

The 58-year-old Ohio native suggested that ONE Championship, Asia’s premier martial arts organization, was firmly on track to securing his signature and voice over its broadcasts. Of course, while he was seemingly approaching an agreement with ONE, Goldberg was still hearing enquiries elsewhere.

As it turns out, that was enough for Chatri to cancel negotiations.

“I was talking to ONE Championship, I talked to Chatri Sityodtong… I talked to Matt Hume, I talked to Rich (Franklin) at the time. I was headed there, and I was excited about it,” Goldberg said. “I was like, ‘I can see the world, man, this is cool.’ I had also been talking to (Scott) Coker.

“There was a press conference in London, and it was for Rory MacDonald… It was Rory’s first coming over from the UFC to Bellator. Somebody asked Scott about me, and he said, ‘Yeah, it might be cool if we had Goldie.’ Well, there was a little more to it but there wasn’t as much to it as Scott kind of said,” Goldberg recalled. “Chatri took it as I’d signed with Bellator, and then he got all hurt. He took his basketball, took it on the court, and he went home. He wouldn’t let me play on his court anymore.”

While Goldberg went on to note that he enjoyed his stint with Bellator, which came to an end in April 2021, he did admit that Chatri’s reaction and the withdrawal of ONE’s interest was disappointing.

“Did I have a great time in Bellator? Yes. Would I have liked to not have Chatri react like that? (Yes), because I wasn’t pitting one against the other, I really wasn’t,” Goldberg stated. “I was ready to go to ONE. But at the same time, they were trying to figure stuff out with budgets, and of course, I’m just trying to feed my family.”

Nowadays, Goldberg is plying his trade on the bare-knuckle boxing scene, calling fights alongside retired pugilist Paulie Malignaggi for the BYB Extreme Bare Knuckle Fighting Series.

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