Gus Johnson in his natural habitat. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Those hoping that Gus Johnson's fruitless negotiation to remain with CBS Sports would also eliminate him from boxing and mixed martial arts broadcasts on the network will be disappointed to learn that Johnson will still be calling boxing and MMA for Showtime, and will be in the booth on Saturday night for the Ward vs Abraham show.
Sources told MMAFighting.com that Johnson's contract with CBS was for basketball and football, and that his deal to call fights (both MMA and boxing) for Showtime was a separate contract. That contract is still in effect, and Johnson will call Saturday night's Andre Ward-Arthur Abraham boxing match for Showtime. Although Showtime hasn't yet announced who will broadcast its next MMA show (a June 18 Strikeforce card), Johnson is expected to call that event as well.
Two things about this are bad news for me:
- I think Gus Johnson is a bad boxing commentator.
- I rejoiced ever so slightly on tomorrow's podcast that he was gone, which was recorded earlier today. Oh well.
I don't know that Gus Johnson is ever going to become a popular combat sports broadcaster. I don't know that he can. He has no reason to change his tried and true style, which will net him a big contract at Fox reportedly, because the majority of his viewers are familiar with him through March Madness and NFL commentary, where he is very popular. But in combat sports he simply hasn't meshed with the product, and fans tend to question whether or not he's fit for the broadcasts when there are so many good boxing commentators without that high profile job. I suppose you can argue that Johnson's visibility lends credibility to Showtime's combat products, but it just seems to me that in these bubbles, Johnson is wildly unpopular with fans of both boxing and MMA, and those are the people watching boxing and MMA.