Shannon Sharpe on The Black Money Tree podcast Photo credit: The Black Money Tree

Shannon Sharpe reflected on his departure from Undisputed one year removed from Skip Bayless and Fox Sports deciding to move on without him.

With their on-air relationship turning tumultuous in the final months of their near seven years together, Sharpe ultimately reached a buyout agreement with Fox Sports that saw him depart the network after last season’s NBA Finals. In the last year, Bayless’s retooled Undisputed has been a ratings disaster with a cast of contributors including Keyshawn Johnson, Michael Irvin, Paul Pierce and Richard Sherman. Sharpe, meanwhile, has watched his platform reach new heights.

Sharpe was a guest on the latest episode of The Black Money Tree, where host Jerome D. Love asked about the experience of having to bounce back after losing his role alongside Bayless on Undisputed.

“I’d be lying if I told you I thought I would be where I am right now at this point in time,” Sharpe admitted. “Did I think it was possible? Yes. But I thought it was going to take me a lot longer than what it actually took me. It’s tough. People are like, ‘Well, Shannon, why did you get so emotional?’ Because if you knew what I put into that job, you would understand. The greater the expectation, the greater the hurt when it doesn’t work out. And I poured so much into that. I gave up everything. I lost relationships because I couldn’t go out to dinner, I couldn’t go on vacations…I had to watch all the sporting events because I gotta be able to talk about them on television and talk about them expertly. So, it cost me a lot.”

“I believed I could be where I am today, but I just thought it was going to take me a couple years,” Sharpe continued. “But to say that it didn’t hurt to leave – because it did. Because of what I put into that…it hurt me to lose because I put so much into that job. Now, I look at it and say, ‘I’m no longer talent.’ You can’t fire me from Shay Shay Media, because I own it. You can’t fire me from Nightcap, you can’t fire me from Club Shay Shay, I own it. That’s the way I look at my business now, you’re gonna be my partner. You’re no longer just going to cut me a check to do something.”

Since departing FS1, Sharpe joined ESPN’s First Take as a part-time contributor, helping Stephen A. Smith’s show continue to be ratings monster, regularly beating Undisputed by a 10-to-one margin. Sharpe also retained Club Shay Shay when he left, which seemed like an ancillary loss for Fox Sports at the time of their split. But since moving Club Shay Shay to Colin Cowherd’s The Volume and launching Nightcap with Chad Johnson on the same podcast network, Sharpe’s digital platform has skyrocketed.

There was an expectation that both parties would be fine in their divorce. Bayless has been a lightning rod throughout his career and there was little reason to believe that interest would falter without Sharpe. But their career arcs have gone in different directions since the split, with Bayless appearing on the tail end of his, while Sharpe’s still has not peaked. Sharpe may have been “hurt” by losing Undisputed, but one year later, his career seems better off without it.

[The Black Money Tree]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to