Mauro Ranallo’s schedule is about to become even busier.
The 46-year-old Ranallo is the new host of AXS TV’s “Inside MMA,” as he is set to replace Kenny Rice beginning on Friday, March 25.
“I’m blessed to be doing WWE on a weekly basis, and I’ve got Showtime Championship Boxing and Glory Kickboxing, so all that was missing from my combat sports palate was a regular gig covering mixed martial arts,” says Ranallo. “I’m ready to put another piece of food on this plate that some people say might already be full, but I’m at my best when I’m working.”
The British Columbia native is eager to reunite with UFC Hall of Famer Bas Rutten on “Inside MMA.”
“This was an opportunity to get back into the sport with one of my favorite broadcast partners, and really one of my best friends in the world, with Bas Rutten,” says Ranallo. “It’s not going to be an easy task replacing Kenny Rice, but the chance to do a show with the reputation and quality of ‘Inside MMA’ makes sense for all of us.”
While the show has enjoyed a successful run for the past eight-plus years, Ranallo is looking forward to adding his own touch to the longest running MMA news show on television.
“We’re looking to make changes, but we’ll continue to tell these stories and go down the deeper layers of all of these stories,” explains Ranallo. “When it comes to breaking down fights and talking X’s and O’s, there are a lot of avenues you can go to, but with ‘Inside MMA,’ we’re going to give you the stories behind the athletes, where they come from, and why they do what they do.”
Excitement continues to spread throughout MMA, with the hangover from the Nate Diaz victory still permeating the air, as well as anticipation with the upcoming light heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones fight, Benson Henderson’s debut in Bellator, and UFC 200 right around the corner.
“As we saw with the UFC this past weekend, nothing set in stone,” says Ranallo. “There is danger involved in combat sports, but this is the purest form of competition. It’s all about finding the truth. When you put someone in a cage or a ring, you’re going to find out the truth, not only about your opponent, but about yourself, as well.
“You can talk about the Sports Illustrated curse with Conor McGregor. In terms of building stars and putting together quality fights, UFC has done a tremendous job. You can talk about the hype and market it all you want, but at the end of the day, the truth is in the cage.”
Ranallo has history with both the network and his broadcast partner. He called the voiceover for AXS TV’s New Japan Pro Wrestling before accepting the play-by-play job for WWE’s Smackdown, and also hosted a podcast with Rutten.
“For me, being a part of the halcyon days of Pride Fighting Championships and then watching the explosion of the UFC following the Ultimate Fighter, I’ve been fortunate to be in the right place at the right time,” says Ranallo. “So to be teamed up again with a guy like Bas, and with the quality and talented staff at ‘Inside MMA,’ I really think this is just like coming home again.”
Justin Barrasso can be reached at JBarrasso@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.