Bellator MMA’s Summer Series ends with a bang Wednesday night with a main card that features champion Michael Chandler vs. David Rickels for the lightweight championship and champion Ben Askren defending his welterweight title against Russian Andrey Koreshkov on Spike TV.
If you’re listening to the Spanish broadcast you’ll hear two distinctive voices calling the action, George X and Manny Rodriguez.
At 5’11” and 240 lbs., Rodriguez, the “Mean Beeen,” as he is known, was the King Of The Cage heavyweight champion before calling it a career and getting into broadcasting while continuing to train other mixed martial arts fighters.
Rodriguez talked to Fox News Latino about his venture to the cage and toward the Spanish announce table.
What got you into MMA?
When I was in high school I was in a car accident and got kind of laid up. One of my teachers was a Brazilian ju-jitsu guy and he had videos in his office of UFC fights, the original Gracie in action videos; I thought this was interesting. The guy told me there was a gym that taught Brazilian ju-jitsu that wasn’t too far away from where we were. I went there, got beat up by some little people — I was this giant power lifting guy at the time and decided I wanted to learn it. I fell in love and wanted to fight.
After retiring young from the sport due to various injures, the 33-year-old Rodriguez continued to train other fighters at Alliance MMA in San Diego.
Did you push yourself too hard?
The machismo kind of kicks in and you bite off a little more than you can chew sometimes.
Is it fair to say you gave up your fighting career to stay involved in MMA?
When I stopped fighting I just couldn’t get it out of me, that’s why I’m color-commentating for Bellator and that’s why I’m training guys. I don’t know much about world events or what’s going on in the world but I know when a fighter or a fight drops off a card.
I saw you on a Spike TV special with Jimmy Smith and I thought, This guy can do English commentary?
I’ve done English commentary [for other organizations]. I love Jimmy smith, the English color commentator. I love working with him.
What about filling in for Jimmy?
I’ve dabbled with the thought of doing more English but the Bellator schedule is rough. If they needed someone to fill in for Jimmy I’d be there.
Is Bellator and CEO Bjorn Rebney looking for that next Latino fighter?
I’m sure it’s always on his mind. The thing with Latinos is that a lot young Latinos are still in that boxing mind set. As the sport grows you’re going to see more Latinos relatively soon.