Sean Wheelock has cleared up some issues and rumors about the real reason why he left Bellator MMA.
For starters, he didn’t want to leave Bellator in the first place. Secondly, it was not Scott Coker, the president of Bellator, who had the final say about renewing his contract.
Wheelock ended his contract last July and was not renewed ever since. He was replaced by Sean Grande, one of the radio voice commentators of the Boston Celtics. Wheel lock has been with Bellator since 2010, working with color commentator Jimmy Smith, where Bellator was still aired on FOX Sports Net. The two worked together for 127 straight shows. After Wheelock’s July contract ended, Smith was joined with a new commentator, Grande.
The former Bellator commentator admitted that he was taken aback by the news; the fans were actually surprised as well. Wheelock said the the promotion company had been delaying conversations about the renewal since spring and then when July came, he was informed that his contract will not be renewed anymore. Grande, on the other hand, revealed that Bellator had been contacting him as early as March.
When Wheelock was asked what he felt about his contract not being renewed, here’s what he had to say:
“It felt like a full-on Thai kick to the face, actually. It was a huge surprise. I know that Scott Coker has taken a lot of heat from people who like me as a commentator or like me as a person or liked the dynamic of Jimmy Smith and myself,” he said.
“It’s my understanding that Scott Coker had nothing to do with this. This was a Spike decision not to renew my contract. I would have happily renewed. I adored Bellator,” Wheelock added.
The first sports blog that released the story of Wheelock not getting his contract renewed was Awful Announcing. It says on the article released last July that the Bellator president “wanted to go in another direction”.
The promotion company never discussed Wheelock’s departure other than Coker thanking him through a tweet. Bellator refused to release any further comment through their spokesperson, Danny Brener.
Last July, Wheelock accepted a short role as a commissioner on the Kansas Athletic Commission. Some people thought that this was in preparation of him leaving his stint in Bellator. Wheelock denied this allegation though. He said that his gig with the Kansas Athletic Commission was permitted by Bellator and it was scheduled almost a year ahead. Wheelock then emphasized his desire to continue to be a commentator in the MMA.
“I went from Titan to PRIDE to M-1 to Bellator without skipping a beat. This is really the first time in about 10 years that I have not had an MMA TV job right now. I’m looking at different things. I’m flattered about how many people have reached out to me and I’m very, very eager to get back on television and get back to it,” Wheelock said.
Wheelock had experience being a commentator in soccer, but he said that he stopped taking gigs on MLS games when he joined Bellator half a decade ago. He admitted that mixed martial arts became his focus before, and would like to continue doing so in the future.
“I love soccer. I’m as big a soccer fan as I ever was. I don’t have a huge desire to go back and be a full-time soccer commentator. But I have a huge desire to go back and be a full-time MMA commentator,” he added.