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17th Dec 2016

Chael Sonnen may have let slip who will replace Mike Goldberg as Joe Rogan’s new broadcast partner

Change is afoot

Darragh Murphy

The rumour mill is grinding away with talk of who will replace Mike Goldberg in the UFC commentary booth.

Talk has been rife that Joe Rogan is set to get a new partner as the UFC owners are prepared to agree to potential new broadcasters’ desire tone down the current style of announcing.

WME-IMG took over from the Fertitta brothers in the summer in a $4 billion acquisition deal and wanted to make some significant changes in order to speed up the process of bringing the world’s pre-eminent mixed martial arts organisation to the mainstream.

UFC president Dana White recently admitted that he was in the process of completing a deal for his “dream team of commentating” and the fact that he praised current colour commentator Rogan but failed to mention Goldberg left many fans believing that the latter was on his way out the door.

“This has been my dream to assemble this dream team of commentating and I’ve wanted this guy for years and I’m working on it and it’s going to happen,” White told Sportsnet.

“Joe Rogan in my opinion is the greatest to ever do it.

“The greatest ever to call fights. HBO is very cocky and arrogant in their [boxing] production — but they deserve to be; they do it well and everything else — but Joe Rogan is the greatest to ever call fights in a combat sport.”

In recent months, when Rogan re-negotiated his contract with the UFC, the stand-up comedian agreed terms to lighten his schedule and he now only provides colour commentary on pay-per-view events in North America while former UFC fighters Brian Stann and Kenny Florian fill in alongside Jon Anik on fight nights and events overseas.

The rumoured plans to replace Goldberg in the commentary booth were only fuelled on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience when guest and close friend of Rogan’s, Eddie Bravo, suddenly asked “Who’s taking Mike Goldberg’s spot?”, a question which was greeted with an awkward silence and a swift subject change in studio.

Bravo didn’t get an answer that day but perhaps we have learned of the leading candidate as former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight challenger Chael Sonnen dropped the name of sport broadcasting legend, Jim Rome, on the latest episode of his own podcast.

“Is Jim Rome going to join Joe Rogan?” Sonnen asked. “Is he going to take that offer? Did I just say something that is not public information? Let’s move on…”

Sonnen is known for spouting plenty of rumours without much substance but it would be rather odd for him to randomly pluck Rome’s name out of thin air and he does have some reliable UFC sources.

We’re not saying it’s nailed on to happen but neither would we be surprised to see Rome alongside Rogan for upcoming UFC pay-per-views although Goldberg is expected to see out 2016 at the very least.