What if the UFC just thought they were hiring actor Jimmy Smits in the first place? Smits was great in NYPD Blue and okay on Dexter, but Jimmy Smith knows much, much, much more about MMA than him.
Who ever made the call not to have Jimmy Smith breaking down UFC fights on air sucks. We get why UFC would do it and even Smith understands why. The best way to keep fighters in line is to offer them a carrot on a stick. Not the Nogueira bros feeding a bus a carrot on a stick, but a figurative incentive for current UFC fighters to play ball.
Do the UFC a favor and maybe, just maybe, a sweet analyst gig on ESPN awaits you.
“Very simply it was, ‘you’re great, fantastic, we love everything you did but we’re going with UFC fighters for 2019,’” Smith told The MMA Hour about leaving UFC. “What’s the message that sends to people who are fighting? If you play ball, you’ll get airtime, you might get a desk job. It also gives the UFC another incentive for their fighters and that’s important. From their point of view, it’s kind of another carrot and stick for fighters.”
Smith was really good at his job and the UFC and ESPN just let him go. Besides Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, who in the UFC or Bellator is better at breaking down fights live on TV than Smith? Talented folks should be getting high profile spots in MMA. Instead, Bellator will do whatever hell they’re doing with their color commentators while the UFC will keep trotting ex or current fighters until someone sticks.
Best of luck Jimmy, we know you’ll land on your feet.
H/T to MMA Mania for the transcription.