Legendary WWE pro wrestling announcer Jim “J.R.” Ross has told of his desire to work in the world of mixed martial arts now that he’s called time on his career with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Having been not only an announcer but once the chief talent scout for WWE, Ross told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour that he believes that he has a lot to offer organizations like the UFC in terms of working with youth development.
“The most challenging part to me would be to engage in talent development, recruiting the right kind of people for the organization,” JR told Helwani. “Any entity like the UFC, the NFL, WWE, it starts with its talent. It starts and ends there. Talent is the reason the people pay to engage in the product … The most challenging thing would be to work with talent. That could be a lot of fun. You want personality traits, athleticism, and dedication.”
Ross also said of how he would like to take a stab at announcing in the UFC, and how he believes the transition from pro wrestling to MMA announcing might be easier for him than you would expect.
“I think that, quite frankly this may sound egocentric, but I think the transition from calling a pro wrestling match and calling MMA fights would be easy,” said ‘Good Old JR’. “I think it would just be getting more familiar with fighters, more familiar with techniques, nuances that I try to study with ample preparation. I’d say the same thing about broadcasting football.”
But is Ross being naive here? History has told us that announcers with limited MMA knowledge struggle massively to keep up with their more adept co-commentators. Just look at the now deceased Strikeforce and how badly received Showtime’s basketball announcer Gus Johnson was.
As for Ross, he’s aiming for the top if he’s to branch out to MMA or football. Why not aim as high as possible? Though he is open to working in other organizations.
“Would you rather broadcast the arena league of the NFL?,” Ross explained. “The UFC is the NFL. In my opinion, at my stage of the game, for me to be interested in something in the MMA world, it would be the UFC, or somebody has to sell me on the opportunity it would be equally as challenging and equally as rewarding. I’m certainly open minded. I think I’m a good enough businessman not to eliminate any opportunities. But my preference would be the UFC, if that could be my adventure, my next journey, headed in that direction. I wouldn’t close the door on anybody.”
So what do you think? Is ‘Good Old JR’ biting off more than he could chew? Or could he bring something positive to the world of MMA? Sound off in the comments below!