Jim Ross is widely regarded as the best professional wrestling announcer of all-time. For years, the play-by-play commentator has been dropping hints that he would love a job calling MMA for either the UFC or Bellator.
Ross brought realism and authenticity to his professional wrestling calls, as much as the wrestlers, Ross was responsible for helping fans suspend their disbelief of the wrestling and believe what they were watching inside the professional wrestling ring was real. Ross helped make the careers of WWE legends such as Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, The Undertaker, Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels.
Ross retired from the WWE earlier this year and is in need of work. He said he is willing to come out of retirement for an opportunity to call MMA fights.
The announcer appeared last Sunday on the Internet’s Live Audio Wrestling show to talk about his MMA aspirations. Although Ross is interested in calling fights for the UFC, so far the UFC seems content its current crop.
“There haven’t been any official meetings,” Ross said. “I have yet to have one meeting with UFC. I met Dana White last year in Las Vegas when I was at the Cauliflower Alley Club. A couple of my friends work in the UFC office. I went to lunch with one of them, and I went to his office after lunch. Dana happened to be there, and I met him casually. We’ve never had a business meeting, we’ve never talked.”
Ross said that even though fans have pushed for Ross to call fights in the Octagon, there have been no formal talks. The idea escalated to a new level after Ross appeared on Ariel Helwani’s radio show.
“I think that was stimulated from when I had done Ariel Helwani’s radio show (The MMA Hour), and Ariel asked me that question and I said “Sure, I’d be interested. I’m a fan. I’ve still got a little gas in the tank.”
Ross believes his 40-year career in professional wrestling might be a deterrent for some MMA promoters to hire him.
“I do not see myself doing any work in MMA. I think that having a forty year career in pro wrestling, and being so attached to it, name identity-wise, career-wise, it can be a blessing or a curse. It’s been a blessing for me because I loved it, and I still do. it’s helped provide a great quality of life for my family and I. However, on the negative side, some people just have a pro wrestling bias.”
Ross said if he had an opportunity, it would likely come with Viacom, since it owns Bellator and has a partnership with TNA wrestling.