Mauro Ranallo To Host and Call The Action Alongside “Big” John McCarthy, Jenn Brown and Josh Thomson; Plus, Undefeated Featherweight World Grand Prix Finalist A.J. McKee Joins As Guest Analyst For BELLATOR MMA 255
NEW YORK – MARCH 24, 2021 – SHOWTIME Sports and BELLATOR MMA have set the announce team for the promotion’s debut on the premium television network, SHOWTIME, on Friday, April 2 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. Veteran play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo will host the series and call the action alongside MMA’s most famous referee-turned analyst “Big” John McCarthy. Additional analysis and reporting will be provided by MMA sportscaster and television personality Jenn Brown and former STRIKEFORCE world champion Josh Thomson with special guest contributions from BELLATOR’s undefeated featherweight contender A.J. McKee.
With over 35 years of sportscasting experience, Ranallo has provided the audio track for many of the most iconic moments in combat sports history. Lending his voice to a variety of combats sports and entertainment events including WWE, NJPW, PRIDE FC, STRIKEFORCE and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, along with BELLATOR Kickboxing and BELLATOR MMA, Ranallo has proven to be one of the most versatile, prolific and knowledgeable broadcasters in sports.
“I am elated that the BELLATOR broadcasting band is getting back together and coming to the preeminent home for premium combat sports, SHOWTIME,” said Ranallo, who has served BELLATOR broadcasts intermittently since June 2017. “Big John is a virtual encyclopedia of MMA, and together, we are going to give fight fans the most passionate commentary in the sport.”
There are few people in the world with more “cage time” than John McCarthy. The world-renowned referee stepped out of the cage and into the BELLATOR announcers’ booth in 2018, bringing with him an intricate level of knowledge as both a former referee and a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. McCarthy also possesses a strong understanding of the Unified Rules of MMA, considering he was a huge contributor to their creation.
“I am so stoked that BELLATOR MMA is back and better than ever on SHOWTIME,” said McCarthy. “The month of April is going to be pure fireworks with multiple world championship fights and the start of the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix! The fact that I get to be in the booth commentating with a one-of-a-kind play-by-play announcer like Mauro Ranallo is just the icing on the cake. Let’s get it on!”
The promotion’s first event live on SHOWTIME will be BELLATOR MMA 255: Pitbull vs. Sanchez 2, headlined by the highly anticipated semifinal matchup of the Featherweight World Grand Prix. BELLATOR’s two-division world champion Patricio “Pitbull” will attempt to defend his title in a rematch against the man who he claims gave him the hardest fight of his career, Emmanuel Sanchez. The winner will advance as the BELLATOR Featherweight World Champion and defend the title against BELLATOR’s homegrown phenom McKee, who has already advanced to the tournament finale. McKee will join the announce team to provide his unique perspective in preview of the April 2 fights and to react as his next opponent is revealed in the main event.
“I may be young, but I’ve been in the gym learning about MMA from the world’s best fighters since I was in diapers,” said McKee. “I’ve obtained a lot of knowledge and experience since then and I’m looking forward to sharing it on the SHOWTIME telecast with this great team. I’m very excited to see who will come out on top in the main event. I just want to know who is bringing me my belt.”
Including the premiere event, BELLATOR MMA on SHOWTIME will launch with three consecutive weeks of action-packed fights. Following the Featherweight World Grand Prix Semifinals on April 2, BELLATOR will begin the highly anticipated Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix, featuring eight of the top stars from the deepest 205-pound division in the sport, with two quarterfinal fights on both Friday, April 9 and Friday, April 16. All three events will air live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on SHOWTIME.
BELLATOR MMA on SHOWTIME is produced by Jon Norton and directed by Rick Beczynski. The executive producer of BELLATOR MMA is Scott Fishman. The executive producer for SHOWTIME Sports is David Dinkins Jr.
As part of the launch of BELLATOR MMA on SHOWTIME, the network is offering viewers who are new to the SHOWTIME streaming service a 30-day free trial, followed by a discounted monthly subscription fee of $4.99/month for the next six months. Viewers can sign up at SHO.com/BellatorMMA.