The UFC added one of the most respected voices in mixed martial arts to its broadcast team this week by signing veteran Bellator MMA colour commentator Jimmy Smith.
Smith will be used at various UFC pay-per-view and Fox Sports events as well as some pre- and post-fight duties on FS1. Smith is expected to debut in the FS1 studios for UFC 220 coverage later this month.
“I am honored to join the world’s premier combat sports brand in 2018,” Smith said in a Friday press release. “It is a privilege to call fights for a living and I can’t wait to join the tremendous UFC broadcast team to call the best fights in the world. To the UFC fans, I am thrilled to join you for this wild ride. See you all very soon!”
Frequently referred to as “the Joe Rogan of Bellator” by MMA fans, Smith parted ways with Bellator in December after the two sides were unable to rework his contract, which had a 2018 option. Smith was a guest on Rogan’s popular podcast earlier this month.
“You [f—–] up, Bellator,” Rogan joked during the recording. “I’ve been telling everybody Jimmy Smith’s the best out there forever and you let him go. That’s a huge error on their part.
“I would be thrilled if somehow or another they were able to work it out where Jimmy Smith was at the UFC. That would be what I would like to see.”
Smith, a former fighter, had been calling Bellator fights for the past nine years. The 40-year-old went 5-1 in professional MMA bouts during his brief fighting career from 2003 to 2006.
“We’re very excited to have Jimmy Smith join the UFC production team and look forward to working him into a variety of different on-air talent roles,” UFC executive vice president of operations and production Craig Borsari added in the press release. “Jimmy’s extensive experience in mixed martial arts gives him a unique voice and great insight to breakdown the intricacies of our sport. We are excited to welcome him to the family.”