Yesterday prior to the UFC 155 weigh-ins, word got out that Mike Goldberg would not be handling play-by-play duties for the pay per view tonight. Later, Dana White did what Dana White does in situations like this, and confirmed the reports without giving any meaningful details about the reason(s) behind Goldy’s absence. He also confirmed that Jon Anik would be stepping into Goldberg’s familiar spot beside Joe Rogan while Goldberg takes some time off.
Along with Rogan, White, and Bruce Buffer, Goldberg is one of the most recognizable faces in all of the UFC, as he has been in charge of calling the events for as long as I can remember. This isn’t the first time he’s missed a numbered UFC event during his long tenure, however, as there was a two pay per view stretch in 2005 when he was nowhere to be found. Unfortunately, his replacements at that time were Craig Hummer and Matt Vasgersian who, while generally good announcers, could not cut it as play by play men in the “Super Bowl of MMA.” Regrettably, Vasgersian was at the helm for one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history, but tried his best to ruin the moment by screaming the predictable and extremely cliche “Down Goes Quarry!” after Ace knocked him stiff.
Luckily, this time the UFC already has a ready-made fill in on the payroll in the form of Jon Anik, who has been handling play by play duties for many of the UFC’s smaller Fuel broadcasts in the past year. This experience, and the fact that Anik undoubtedly knows his MMA, should make the transition pretty seamless.
Plus, in the Fuel events Anik has proven his ability to shine in two of the most important areas for UFC commentators: the ability to wear black-on-black-on-black, and to scream into a microphone. In fact, as I have commented before, I think Anik can even give Rogan a run for his money when it comes to excited screaming on camera, insofar as sometimes Anik noticeably shakes in the cage during interviews because he is so screamy. I’m sure this will come through tonight in those announcer hype segments that the UFC uses to promote fights that we have already paid for. I just want Brick Tamland to walk onto the screen during such a segment and yell at Anik and Rogan, “WHY ARE WE YELLING!?”
Regardless, I am sure they will do a great job tonight. And, at the same time, if Goldy is going to be out for a considerable period of time, I am also sure that they will need a new B-Team announcer to call fights no one is watching with Ken-Flo. Time to get on that video resume…
P.S. I would like to believe that Gus Johnson was offered the spot for tonight but turned it down due to other commitments.