Bellator Fighting Championships today officially announced the on-air broadcast teams for its nationally televised shows on FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo during its second and third seasons.
Bellator’s English-language team will be led by veteran MMA play-by-play announcer Sean Wheelock, who will partner with MMA fighter and color commentator Jimmy Smith. Meanwhile, Bellator’s highly popular Season 1 Spanish-language duo of George X and Manny Rodriguez will return for Seasons 2 and 3.
In addition, Bellator announced that Michael C. Williams will serve as the cage announcer/master of ceremonies for all Season 2 and 3 events.
“We are very happy that these five talented personalities will be the on-air voices for Bellator Fighting Championships,” said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney. “Sean, Jimmy, George, Manny and Michael all understand MMA inside and out and truly love the sport. Each of them will enhance the viewing experience for the millions of fans who’ll be watching our shows on Fox Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo during Seasons 2 and 3.”
Wheelock is familiar to MMA fans around the globe thanks to his experience as the play-by-play announcer for PRIDE and M1-Global events. He is also the North American sports coorespondent for the BBC and has called three Super Bowls for the network that were viewed by millions of fans in the U.K. A native of Kansas City, he is also a highly experienced professional and college soccer announcer and currently serves as the voice of the Kansas City Wizards of the MLS.
“I could not be more excited to be the new TV play-by-play commentator for Bellator,” Wheelock said. “This is an absolute dream job — the best in mixed martial arts and all of sports broadcasting as far as I’m concerned. I truly believe that I have joined the organization that will change the landscape in this sport. I’m committed to doing my part to ensure that Bjorn Rebney’s vision for Bellator is fully realized.”
Smith is a professional MMA fighter who has compiled a 6-1 record on the Southern California regional circuit. As a broadcaster, he has teamed with Wheelock to provide color commentary for M1-Global and is the host of the Discovery Channel’s very popular “Fight Quest.”
Bellator’s Spanish-language team from Season 1 returns for Season 2 after their highly successful first year on ESPN Deportes.
George X is one of Mexico’s best-known Spanish language announcers, having announced events such as the NBA finals, the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl XXXV. Extreme sports fans, will know George X as the face and voice of ESPN’s Spanish-language coverage of the X Games. He is an MMA expert and has been a writer for the leading Latino MMA publication, Extreme Fighting.
“With epic battles, explosive knock-outs and jaw-dropping submissions, Bellator took the MMA world by storm last year,” George X said. “I think the tournament format is extremely exciting because every fight matters. I also appreciate Bellator’s high recognition to the Hispanic fighters and fans. I’m extremely proud to be part of this organization and truly honored to be back for Seasons 2 and 3.”
Rodriguez, the former King of the Cage Heavyweight Champion, has handled a wide collection of on-air broadcast duties for numerous Mexican MMA events in addition to co-hosting Bellator’s Season 1 Spanish-language broadcasts.
Williams, meanwhile is a professional cage announcer, ring announcer and public address announcer who has served as the voice of Friday Night Fights on ESPN, Boxing After Dark on HBO, the Chicago Marathon, many professional beach volleyball events, major triathlons around the country and countless “Monster Jam” monster truck events, to name a few, during his 20-year career.
“What I’ve liked about Bellator from the very beginning is that, like football and basketball and baseball – it’s a season full of competition that you can watch week after week after week,” Williams said. “Every announcer is a storyteller and with this tournament format and the great fighters that Bellator has signed, there’s going to be some great storylines in Season 2.”