The UFC has a Mike Goldberg problem

Sunday veteran UFC broadcaster Mike Golberg made his debut with the NFL arm of the FOX broadcasting family, to say he fumbled would be far too easy of an analogy. Instead, I would say that Mike took the opportunity to show why the UFC as a product is still a long way from being a product that can scale to the same level as the NFL.

There are obvious reasons that the UFC will never match the NFL in terms of dollars, scale, or a fanatically following that teams enjoy. But Dana White hasn't really kept it a secret that this is indeed what he has wanted to do, enjoy this quote from June of 2008:

"Remember that I told you this: in the next five to eight years, this thing's going to be the biggest sport in the world -- bigger than the [deleted expletive] NFL, bigger than Major League Soccer, bigger than World Cup soccer or whatever the hell they call it. Bigger than anything. So remember I told you that."

Six years later and the UFC is not even bigger than World Cup soccer, which isn't a problem for their business plan. As was previously discussed the FOX Sports 1 deal changes the way in which money comes into the organization that allows them to have events that we would not call "blockbuster." That said, if you want to be "bigger than the NFL" you cannot have one of two broadcasters come unglued on Sunday afternoon:

While this is one of the kinder tweets about his "ham-handed" debut in the National Football League, none of the tweets deserved this response from a professional broadcaster:

The tweets have since been deleted from Mike's account and ironically in response FOX has removed Mike from the Vikings broadcast this weekend against the Bills. In 2014 there are three things everyone needs to understand, the Internet is forever, YOU are your brand, and most importantly never, ever, feed the trolls.

Was Mike's play-by-play great? No, it wasn't even good - it was terrible. That could be for a number of reasons I don't need to get into. What needs to be said is that Mike Goldberg is not Dana White whose foul-mouthed tweets have become as much his brand than his lack of hair. Mike Goldberg is the straight-laced face of the organization, that is his brand. So, when he gets on a MUCH bigger platform than a UFC broadcast and fails, people notice. That isn't to say you cannot fail, because failure is the best teacher. What you can't do is damage your brand for the sake of your ego, own your mistakes and move on. It was your first game and while there are expectations of what an NFL broadcast should look and sound like (starting with understanding who is on what team) there is certainly some room to learn and grow.

But Mike won't and shouldn't get that opportunity. FOX doesn't need him to do those broadcasts, the UFC would have liked the platform but there are many qualified broadcasters out there that could handle the calling of a game like that. Mike couldn't handle the spotlight, which is interesting since calling sports is what he has done for his entire career so my hope is that he can learn because melting down like he did on the platform he used, makes it really hard to pitch the UFC on the same level of the NFL, which is exactly why the made the deal with FOX in the first place.


Eric HultgrenComment