Jimmy Smith kicked off 2019 by announcing that the UFC had not renewed his contract, making the color commentator a free agent.
The UFC and Bellator MMA commentary veteran signed a one year deal with the UFC, which he now admits was a huge risk.
“I took a big risk and I knew that,” Smith said on The MMA Hour. “And what happened was, my contract with Bellator was up and they wanted to kind of renew the one that I had, it’s a long story but the UFC came to us and said ‘look, we don’t know where we’re going in 2019.’ the ESPN deal hadn’t been signed. So, their thing was, we think he’s talented, we think he’s great, we’d love to have him on the team. We can’t do more than a year deal because we don’t know where we’re going no one has anything past 2018.’ So I called around some people that I knew in the UFC, Anik and stuff like that, and I said ‘what’s going on?’ And [they] said ‘yeah, we have no idea what’s going on past 2018, everybody is kind of in the same boat.’ And I said okay, this is kind of a risk signing a contract for just a year. But I gotta take the leap and try, I have to do what I can. I took a big gamble and I here I am.”
Smith had spent just a year commentating for the UFC, but did spend a total of eight years commentating for Bellator MMA.
If there is one thing that Smith knows in 2019, it is that everything is going to be an option for him.
“Everything is open, everything is an option. I’ve been in MMA 20 years, I’ve been in broadcasts since 2006, 12 years, 13. Yeah, you keep going because this is what I got good at this is what I’ve excelled. So yeah I’m going to keep plugging away and being open to everything and see what happens,” Smith said.
There is no word yet on where Smith will sign with next, but he is arguably the biggest free agent from a commentary perspective in MMA right now.