The best active MMA announcers
With MMA in the spotlight thanks to UFC's ESPN deal, promotions all over the world have been able to benefit. We're seeing ESPN finally form their team with writers from some of the larger MMA news sources and the best announcers are able to cover the sport on the biggest platform of them all. The Scrap has put together a list of the best MMA announcers that call the sport we all love.
Click the right arrow to read our top five MMA announcers of the modern era.
5. John McCarthy
(Affliction: 2008-2009, Bellator: 2018-present)
Big John McCarthy is best known for his work as a referee, and as a pioneer in the early days of MMA. He was instrumental in the creation of the rules of modern MMA, he refined the duties of the MMA referee into what they are today, and he has also provided some decent commentary over the years as an announcer for such companies as Affliction and Bellator.
McCarthy can explain each in-cage situation, but he also has the ability to provide insight into the rules in a way that no other announcer can. He is still relatively inexperienced as an announcer, but he has officially retired as a referee so it would seem that announcing is now his full-time gig. If he approaches his announcing career with the same passion that he did reffing, it is likely only a matter of time before his star shines even brighter.
4. Mauro Ranallo
(Pride:2003-2006, Elite XC: 2006-2008, Strikeforce: 2008-2013, Various: 2014-present)
Mauro Ranallo has been everywhere. He got his start in Canada as a pro wrestling commentator when he was just a teen, and from there he would go on to call some of the most memorable moments in all of combat sports history. Ranallo first reached the mainstream eye through his work with Pride Fighting Championships, where he first paired with frequent collaborator, Bas Rutten. The mid-2000s saw Ranallo work first for Elite XC, and then the more stable Strikeforce.
Since the demise of Strikeforce, Ranallo has been everywhere and then some. He has worked for Invicta, Bellator, Glory, New Japan, WWE SmackDown, and WWE: NXT. He is known for his deep voice, and unique delivery, as well as his use of eye-roll inducing one-liners. Aside from his work as a commentator, Ranallo is also an outspoken advocate for mental health. He has been very open with his struggles, including the ones that continue effecting him to this day.
3. Jimmy Smith
(Bellator: 2010-2017, UFC: 2018-2019)
Jimmy Smith might have an argument for being the most underappreciated man in MMA.
He started as a fighter, compiling a 5-1 record, before shifting his focus to a job that didn’t require him getting punched in the face. That job was as the host of the Discovery Channel show, Fight Quest. That exposure led Smith into announcing and he has done quite well for himself in that role. He first gained notoriety in Bellator, where he worked for seven years. He was sometimes regarded as the best-kept secret in MMA, that is until the UFC finally signed him in 2018.
Smith would go on to have a solid yet unmemorable run with the world's largest MMA promotion, and they allowed him to walk when his contract expired in early 2019. While Smith has done some announcing since his UFC departure, he does not currently have a significant full-time gig. As far as his approach to announcing goes, Smith has a vast knowledge of MMA but is perhaps a bit bland at times. With that being said, his knowledge and experience are hard to match, and for that reason, Smith ranks amongst the very best announcers in the world, and whichever company eventually secures his services will be getting a fantastic worker.
2. Daniel Cormier(UFC: [As Broadcaster] 2014-Present)
Daniel Cormier is widely considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time. He is a multiple time World Champion, and he holds victories over some of the greatest fighters in the sport over the last few years. That alone is an impressive resume, but it doesn't end there for DC. Starting in 2014, Cormier began working as a co-host on UFC tonight, and from there he eventually made his way into the announcer's booth. Cormier’s experience inside of the cage often shows up in his commentary, as he is often able to give an experience-driven account of the goings on inside the cage at any given time.
At 40 years old, Cormier has made it clear that his days of competing are numbered, but his time with the UFC is likely far from over as he has a very bright future going forward as one of the best announcers currently working.
1. Joe Rogan
(UFC: 1997-1999, 2002- Present)
Love him or hate him, Joe Rogan is as close to a gold standard as you will find among MMA announcers. He got his start with the UFC in 1998, working as a post-fight interviewer, often in backstage segments. He left for a while before returning in 2002, and it was then that he accepted the color commentator role that he still holds to this day. Rogan was paired with Mike Goldberg, who at that point had been with the UFC since 1997, and the two would go on to call nearly every UFC event from 2002 until Goldberg's departure in 2016.
In recent years, Rogan has pulled back on the number of shows that he works, sticking mostly to Pay-Per-View events based in the United States, which has allowed a plethora of new talent to emerge. Someday Rogan will move on, and somebody will take his place, but he will never be replaced. Whether it be his over the top calls such as “He’s hurt!” or his off the wall comments seemingly originating from deep inside the mind of a self-described “psychedelic adventurer,” Rogan has etched a place in MMA history that will last as long as the sport remains in the public eye. Aside from commentating, Rogan is also an avid outdoorsman, as well as a popular podcaster and touring stand-up comedian.
He might be MMA’s greatest renaissance man, he is unquestionably one of its most excellent ambassadors, and he is also arguably the greatest announcer in the history of our great sport.
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The Scrap’s Cole Henry is a small business manager by day and an armchair MMA analyst and combat sports writer by night. Henry is also the co-host a weekly podcast available on iTunes called The MMA Scope and a podcast on Rokfin called #1 Bullshitter. Follow Cole on Twitter (@TheScopeMMA).