AXS TV issued the following press release announcing WWE SmackDown broadcaster Mauro Ranallo is returning MMA:
RENOWNED COMBAT SPORTS PERSONALITY MAURO RANALLO JOINS AXS TV AS NEW HOST OF 'INSIDE MMA' BEGINNING MARCH 25
LOS ANGELES – March 9, 2016 – AXS TV FIGHTS today announced renowned combat sports personality and broadcaster Mauro Ranallo will be the new host of INSIDE MMA, the longest running and only independent MMA news series on television, beginning Friday, March 25. A veteran broadcaster with over 30 years' experience, Ranallo will bring his energetic broadcasting style and opinionated views on the world of combat sports to INSIDE MMA alongside UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten and correspondent Ron Kruck Friday nights at 9:30 p.m. PT/12:30 a.m. ET following AXS TV FIGHTS' weekly live MMA and Muay Thai broadcasts.
Ranallo is best known for his play-by-play commentary for prestigious organizations such as Pride Fighting Championships, which he called alongside his new co-host Rutten for several years; Showtime Boxing, where he recently called the international feed of the historic Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight; and Strikeforce, which was home to MMA superstars like Ronda Rousey, Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold. In 2015, Ranallo helped AXS TV launch its hit pro wrestling series NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING calling matches alongside former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett, before signing with WWE as the new voice of Smackdown.
"Mauro Ranallo's contributions to the success of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV were undeniable and we are confident he will take INSIDE MMA to new heights," said AXS TV FIGHTS CEO Andrew Simon. "The opportunity to pair the 'dream team' together of Mauro and Bas Rutten is exciting and I can't wait to see what happens when these two super-charged personalities are reunited on March 25."
"AXS TV would like to thank longtime host Kenny Rice for his dedication to growing INSIDE MMA since our launch in 2007," Simon continued, "and we plan to continue a relationship with him as a special correspondent."
Said Ranallo, "In a year in which I landed a dream job with WWE, my dream to once again cover MMA and work with my broadcasting brother Bas Rutten has also come true. Filling the shoes of consummate pro Kenny Rice won't be easy but I can't wait to return to AXS TV for some strong style MMA coverage!"
"I am super stoked to work with Mauro again," said Rutten. "We had such a great time in Japan for Pride Fighting Championships, so get ready for the craziness! Kenny Rice and I have become great friends over the years, so I am happy that, despite his busy schedule, he will still be involved with INSIDE MMA."
Said Rice, "I am excited to step into the new role as a special correspondent, continuing to bring the exclusive access to our viewers that has been synonymous with Inside MMA over the past ten seasons. It's a true team at Inside MMA and I welcome longtime friend Mauro Ranallo to it."
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