I don’t know another sport out there that has such a hard time finding good help in the announcer’s booth. Maybe it’s because the sport is still so young or because MMA fans are impossible to please, but there ain’t an event that goes by where someone isn’t sticking powertools in their ears to drown out the droning of whatever buttfuck moron is providing play by play. This award goes to the person that causes that feeling the most.
Frank Trigg is so bad that he actually makes the death of promotions seem like a good thing. The less promotions around, the less chance we have to put up with Trigg’s moronic mumbling. Frank is terrible in every possible way – he lacks charisma, his banter is horrid, and he consistently miscalls the action in the cage. He mumbles, he rambles, he sounds like he has a borderline speech impediment. At times, he sounds more like Milton from Office Space than a guy being paid to make intelligent observations about fights. He has an annoying habit of ignoring fights so he can tell irrelevant stories about his personal relationships with the fighters, and has ‘pet names’ for fighters that he uses on a regular basis.
Classic Trigg Quote: “I’m good friends with Fedor.”
The horror of Bill Goldberg announcing was first revealed at 2007’s K1 Dynamite show and then lived on via EliteXC shows through 2008. ProElite has a long list of dumb mistakes they never did anything about, but Bill Goldberg manages to still rank high high up there on that list. Considering this is a company that went down in flames after blowing through 55 million dollars in two years, I’ll let that speak for itself. As for Goldberg’s specific crimes in commentary, it’s hard to wrap it up better than the many videos made to mock his shittiness. But long story short he proved himself to be completely ignorant of rules, rankings, fighter backgrounds, submissions, and so on. His broadcast team regularly mocked him and egged him on to say stupid shit, and his in-ring interviews were famously bad. His presence in the cage was a constant annoyance for fighters, as he would often physically drag them around the ring, cut them off, and make jokes at their expense. His comments rarely made sense even when he actually managed to finish a sentence without trailing off or getting distracted.
Classic Quote: “Hey, shut up.”
Many people hate Mike Goldberg not because he does a bad job, but because they hate the job he’s paid to do. Goldberg is the shill-guy for the UFC, the one who interrupts the action in order to tell you about Castrol or Spike’s latest terrible television show. Past that, while Joe Rogan seems to do and say whatever the fuck he wants to, Goldberg comes off sounding like he has a piece of paper in front of him from UFC HQ laying out exactly what he thinks and feels. As with Mauro Ranallo, Goldberg doesn’t let little things like facts or reality keep him from making outlandish claims about the skills of fighters. Past that, he’s worked for the UFC for over 10 years and 100 events and still has a very questionable amount of knowledge of the sport he’s announcing for. He’s been accused of only being as smart as the notes he has in front of him, and is known for picking up new terms and running them into the ground with his constant parroting of them. For 2008, his new toy word was ‘teep’ which he used incessantly. Also a source of endless aggravation is his constant attempt to switch up how he says Bruce Buffer’s name.
Classic Quote: “His precision is so precise”
The king of hyperbole, it should be no surprise to anyone that Ranallo comes from a pro wrestling background. Every event announced by Ranallo comes packed with quips and jokes and one liners that can turn the most epic of fights into a total groan fest. Ranallo simply has no legitimacy because he’s willing to sell it to whatever promotion he works for. And working with EliteXC, he was forced to spew some pretty blatant bullshit about the fights he was calling. Add in his sleazy carnival barker voice and you’ve got a guy who’s opinion no one trusts, despite the fact that he’s one of the more educated announcers in the game. Now onto his terrible jokes. A good announcer is supposed to compliment the fights he’s calling but Mauro would often ‘steal the show’, pulling fans out of the moment with his dumbass jokes. And don’t think that Mauro only does this once in a while – every event he announces goes at a pun a minute, with terrible lines such as “This fight lasted as long as Brett Favre’s retirement”, “He went down faster than a pint of Guinness”, “He got dropped like names at a Hollywood party” and “James Thompson has a chin like Cinderella’s favorite slipper”
Classic Quote: “I’d touch that with my 25 centimeter pole”
People just don’t like Kenny because he has zero personality and comes off like a used car salesman. He’s been working with Bas Rutten forever and still can’t seem to figure out how to communicate with him. For a guy that doesn’t know a lot about MMA, he does a pretty good job of hiding it but that doesn’t mean we don’t realize how clueless he is a lot of the time. There seems to be an idiotic perception amongst event execs that the ‘shill-guy’ doesn’t have to know MMA, which is probably how Kenny got his job. But you might as well listen to some white noise instead of Kenny Rice … he has never offered a single piece of insight into a fight that a 4 year old wouldn’t have known. He takes his fight cues off CompuStrike statistics and often comes into an event with little knowledge of fighters past their records.
Classic Quote: “Haha, good one Bas”
Once one of MMA’s most loved commentators, Bas quit drinking booze and got a lot less amusing (something I can sympathize with). Nowadays his fuel of choice is Red Bull, which litters the announcer’s table at Japanese events and leaves El Guapo squeaking, grunting, and randomly singing for 6 hours at a time. Once considered one of the best announcers in the business, El Guapo clearly spends less time in the scene and doesn’t make up for it with more research before fights. In a sport that has changed greatly just in the past four years, Rutten simply hasn’t kept up and has gone from being a funny guy with a very intimate knowledge of the sport to a joker who’s fundamentals are sound but who hasn’t kept up with the times.
Classic Quote: “Brip brap doo doo dee da do!”
Technically Ferrall was the in-ring announcer for Yamma Pit Fighting so he really shouldn’t be included in this category, but his performance was so bad that we decided to include him anyways. Sounding like a man who ate all the cigarettes in the world, Ferrall rasped out some of the most insane shit ever heard on a PA system at a mixed martial arts event. Since I can’t boil it down to just one, here’s some highlights:
“Standing 6’2″, 264 and pacing like he hasn’t eaten in a week, he’s goin’ to the electric chair at 11-0-and 0 in his MMA career”
“Kevin Mulhall will be our referee for this beautiful matchup of warriors and freaks ready to pound and dance-”
“Here we are, after the tournament and 2 victories apiece for these badasses and warriors, ready for the heavyweight title and grabbing that YAMMA Pit belt, the Strap-On. This is what it’s all about at the Taj, Are you ready to dance, shake it oooohhhh?”
Honorable Mentions: Everyone seems to hate Ron Kruck, but he doesn’t really do any announcing. And there’s a hardcore contingent of people who hate Joe Rogan with a passion for being a screechy pot head, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to add him to the list.