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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
When the WEC returns to Versus next month with WEC 49, longtime cage announcer Joe Martinez will not be a part of the broadcast.
Martinez announced earlier this week that he was leaving the WEC, saying on Twitter "Family, friends and fans - thanks for all of your support - I am out as the WEC ring announcer. Family reason that couldn't be compromised."
Martinez, who began announcing duties in the WEC in March of 2007, explained why he left further in an interview with MMAFighting.com.
"Golden Boy offered me a deal until 2011 that consists of roughly 98 fights," Martinez said. "When I approached the WEC with that information and asked them, 'What do you guys think?' Basically, they said, 'Well, you know, you have to look out for your family. After 2010, we don't have any guarantee as to what's going to be happening: if we need you, if you'll have a contract.' "
"With three kids and a baby on the way, I had to look out for my family and that's the decision I made."
Martinez will now be working on Golden Boy's Spanish language program, Solo Boxeo Tecate. However, the boxing enthusiast says he has developed a great appreciation for the sport of mixed martial arts during his time in the WEC.
"Before I could have told you I am a 100% boxing enthusiast, but when I started doing cagefighting, after my second show, when I really understood what was going on, I just became a die-hard," said Martinez. "This is pretty awesome. And when I became more knowledgeable about it, and got to meet the guys and just really talk to them because they're mentally -- if you're new to the sport, you think [these fighters], something is missing upstairs, there's got to be a screw loose, but if you get to know them and find out that, I would say, 90% have matriculated through some kind of collegiate experience. They're really intelligent and that turned me into appreciating this sport more"
Penick's Analysis: It's unfortunate to lose Martinez from the broadcasts, as he did a good job in his duties for the organization and was part of the atmosphere for WEC events on Versus. He was passed over for the pay-per-view, though, as the UFC brought in their crew for the event, but he was still going to be welcome back with the return to Versus. Now we'll just have to wait to see who the WEC hires to take his place starting at WEC 49 next month in Edmonton.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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