Paramount exec explains Bellator split with commentator Jimmy Smith
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Bellator President Scott Coker chalked up Jimmy Smith’s departure from his longtime color commentary role as a “network decision.” Now the network has given its reason for not reaching a new agreement.
Smith’s exit from Bellator was announced in late December. He’s already come to an agreement to join the UFC’s stable of broadcasters, while his Bellator position was filled with noted combat sports referee “Big” John McCarthy.
In the middling period before Smith’s UFC signing, there was a mix of outrage and wonder why his Bellator tenure ended. He said contract extension talks ultimately hit a dead-end, and Jon Slusser, Paramount’s senior vice president for sports and multi-platform programming, confirmed as much with his version of the events.
In the wake of the relationship between Smith and Bellator, McCarthy steps into the broadcast booth. He debuts Saturday at Bellator 192, which takes place at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and marks the debut of Bellator on the newly launched Paramount Network (formerly Spike).
“Where we are now, we’re really excited about,” Slusser said. “We’ve got ‘Big’ John (McCarthy), Jay Glazer added to our unbelievable group of broadcasters. We’re really excited where we are, looking forward to a big Saturday night with our team and I think ‘Big’ John, we’ve worked with him, we’ve done some tests, and he’s incredible. Really, really good. We’re excited for you to see that and you’ll see that he’s great.
This story Paramount exec explains Bellator split with commentator Jimmy Smith first appeared on MMA Junkie.