In a move which all but officially closes the door on his tumultuous run with WWE, mixed martial arts company Bellator announced earlier today they’ve signed Mauro Ranallo to a multi-event deal to broadcast their shows, starting with their June 24 show in New York City.
Ranallo was hired by WWE in late 2015 and was assigned as lead voice for SmackDown and worked play-by-play for WWE Network’s Cruiserweight Classic tournament series. In March of this year, he missed a Tuesday night episode of SmackDown, an incident which was initially explained away as being the result of weather impacting his travel. Subsequent absences were attributed to his being ill, and reports began to surface Mauro’s publicly disclosed mental health issues were the cause... with stories following that his symptoms may have been exacerbated by his treatment by broadcast partner John “JBL” Layfield.
In late April, all parties issued statements explaining they agreed to part ways, and Ranallo denied he was bullied by JBL.
Despite all that, there were still rumors he could return to WWE. While the company may not see MMA, and especially not a non-UFC promotion, as a competitor, it seems unlikely Mauro would sign with Bellator if he had plans to work for Vince McMahon again.
Bellator also signed form UFC play-by-play voice Mike Goldberg, someone it’s been said WWE was interested in hiring in the past. Their president Scott Coker had this to say in the press release announcing the news:
Mike Goldberg and Mauro Ranallo are two of the best in our business and I couldn’t be happier about them joining the Bellator family. In addition to June 24, we look forward to working together to make future Spike broadcasts even more exciting for our fans as we add further depth to an already-exceptional broadcast team.