At the end of 2016, the UFC unceremoniously let go of Mike Goldberg, with the promotion not giving him a send-off or even a mention after his 20 years with the promotion. For years, this left the longterm UFC play-by-play commentator and his family upset and disappointed about never receiving a proper goodbye or hearing from Dana White.
Looking back now with fonder memories of his tenure with the UFC, Goldberg reveals he would’ve changed how he handled things back when he was still “hurt” with how everything played out.
“It was kind of crazy, because I would like to run that one back,” Goldberg told MMA Fighting. “Because the whole ‘Did Dana say anything [when I left],’ I mean, it was an awkward situation. [UFC producer] Craig Borsari was wonderful. The hugs, the tears, everything was there. I should have been the guy to be proactive and walk up and thank Dana, as I look back at it. I should have done that. I should have said, ‘Dana, thank you.’ Because business is business.
“I am so appreciative because there’s so much in my life that I have experienced, so much in my life that my family has experienced, and so much of my life that I have today because of the Ultimate Fighting Championship,” he said. “Did it take some time? Yeah, it took a little bit of time to get that sting away. But I was never unappreciative — I was just hurt. I was hurt. And I was saddened by the fact that I had such a great gig with great people, and that I no longer was able to do it.”
While Goldberg previously described a chance Las Vegas encounter with Dana White as “awkward,” looking back now he says that same situation eventually gave him “closure.”
“I see Dana in the valet area with a couple of buddies and he’s getting into his car, he’s leaving probably after a dinner or a little bit of gambling as we know with the UFC president Dana White. And my son Cole looks at me, he goes, ‘Dad, that’s Dana.’ And honestly, I froze. I did not know what to do,” Goldberg said.
“Do I say hello? Do I not? What do I do?” he continued. “And I’m usually a guy who’s got a pretty good instinct. And my son, God bless him, he’s like, ‘Dad, go say hi.’ And I did and I shook his hand and I said, ‘Thank you for everything.’ I said, ‘I hope we can stay in touch and I wish you nothing but the ultimate in success in everything that continues in the UFC, and always be thankful for it.’ So it was it was a great moment of, I guess, closure at a time, because of the way that the ending went. And like I said, I should’ve been the one to thank Dana and not waited and then have a little bit of negative come out of it. Because Dana White was great to me. He was great to me and he was supportive of me.
“He was the one who called me when I was going to go to the WWE and said, ‘Don’t go, we want you. We got you.’ Lorenzo is the man and I was Lorenzo Fertitta’s guy, there’s no question, but it was a good moment and I’m really glad that I walked up to Dana that day in front of the Red Rock. And I’d be kicking myself if I wouldn’t have. And I’m glad I did because it turned out well. But was there a little fear and trepidation? Absolutely.”
After his UFC stint, Goldberg also did play-by-play duties with Bellator until 2021.
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