If you were watching UFC Phoenix a hell of a lot closer than I was on Sunday, you might have noticed a familiar face sitting amongst the crowd: that of former UFC commentator Mike Goldberg.
Yes, that's none other than "Goldie" himself shaka-ing through the pain after being let go from the UFC without even so much as a goodbye montage following UFC 207 last month (an oversight that was thankfully corrected by Tommy Toe Hold). While the man behind such golden catchphrases as "The Progidy" and "his precision is so precise" appeared to take his firing in stride at first, his presence at UFC Phoenix certainly raises some questions about just how well he is really handling things to say the very least.
Clearly, there is something very wrong here, which is why I've taken it upon myself to offer a few wholly-possible explanations at just how Goldie ended up in the audience that night, and what clues this might offer to his future.
Conspiracy Theory #1: Goldberg is 'Single White Female'-ing Replacement Todd Grisham
We all deal with rejection differently. Some of us tend to lash out at those closest to us. Others draw further inward from society at the fear of being hurt again. And some of us, well, some of us look at what makes the person/company/thing we are envious of successful and attempt to mirror every facet of it until we are finally accepted as, I dunno, let's say "a legitimate MMA journalist."
...point is, Goldberg has quite noticeably taken up this incredibly dangerous mindset in regard to the man being brought in to replace him, Todd Grisham. And just like Single White Female, Goldie's sociopathic trail back to being a UFC employee begins with the haircut. The spikes, the subtle-yet-noticeable dye job... It all looks a little *too* familiar, does it not? This is mirroring at it's finest people, and though Grisham was not working the broadcast booth at UFC Phoenix, I'm sure that the message has been delivered.
That message? "Keep an eye on yo gurl before she ends up with a stiletto through the eye."
Conspiracy Theory #2: Goldberg 'Cape Fear'-d Himself Into the Arena Under Kenny Florian's Car
In case you are wondering, yes, all my conspiracy theories happen to be movie-based.
Mike Goldberg may put forth the image of a lovable goof with a proclivity for comparing Travis Lutter to Michael Jordan, but anyone who actually knows him knows that underneath his squeaky clean exterior lies a true warrior with the rage and intensity of King Leonidas. Have you even seen that video of him hitting pads, bro?
Gloves aren't necessary when you're a savage.
Like I said, everything we know about Goldie is a front. A carefully constructed, impeccably maintained front that only cracks under the most extreme of pressures. Being fired, for instance. If you honestly think that the same guy who went H.A.M on a bunch of Twitter trolls who dared mock his one-off gig in the NFL is going to just roll over and let the UFC take away the one thing he loves, then I implore you to watch the above video of him hitting pads again and then PLEASE go find yourself a clue.
After hearing word of his impending demise from the UFC ranks, I'm guessing that Goldberg was on the warpath, storming through promotional headquarters demanding that Dana White face him in unarmed, unclothed combat like his ancestors of yore and whatnot. Dana catches wind of it and slaps him with the lifetime ban, all but forcing Goldie to get creative with his revenge plan. So what does he do? He finds Kenny Florian, straps himself to the bottom of his car like he's Robert De Niro in Cape Fear, and then disappears into the audience upon entering the Talking Stick Resort Arena, only emerging to offer a brief warning to those who betrayed him — "shaka bra," as in, "you all turned your backs on me and will now die a horrible death via electrocution, brah."
Conspiracy Theory #3: Goldberg Actually Died in 2016 and Is Now Haunting the UFC
2016 was a blockbuster year for the UFC, featuring more marquee events than the promotion has arguably ever seen over a 12-month period with some record breaking figures in the fighter pay department as well. But the crux of UFC's success last year all but centered around one event: #UFC205.
Having suffered massive setbacks at UFC 197, UFC 200, and Fight Night Manila, the UFC brass knew full well that they were pushing their luck in holding the first ever triple title fight card, in the most prestigious arena the world, in the last state to legalize MMA in the country. Clearly, the MMA Gods would not allow such a historic moment to transpire and would rip away something we loved at the last second, as they had done countless times in the past.
But UFC 205 had to be perfect. Radical measurements had to be taken in order to ensure that it would be.
A sacrifice had to be made.
Dana White & Co. knew this, and after some debate called upon Mike Goldberg — a trusted, lifelong company man if there ever was one — to take the hit for them, for UFC 205, and for what could very well be the future of MMA. Goldberg volunteered as tribute without hesitation. He was brave.
But like all those who are taken before their time was meant, Goldberg found his soul trapped here on earth, forever doomed to wander amongst the living. This was not a part of the deal that Goldie had made, and it enraged him.
With this image, so begins the haunting of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. When Dana White goes to lay his pretty head to rest, the last thing he will see is Goldie, shaka-ing him from across the room. When Lorenzo Fertitta requests another Mai Tai while vacationing on whatever private island he purchased from the UFC buyout, he'll do a double take, swearing that the waiter who brought it looked a little too familiar. And when both men are in their death throes twenty, maybe even fifty years from now, calling out to their Gods for just one more minute of breath, it will be Goldie who descends from the clouds, smirking with the menace of the Angel Gabriel as he whispers, "And it is alllllll overrrrrrr."