Once the crowds and competition are gone for athletes there's only a few ways to stay in the game. If you're not coaching then the other option is broadcasting. As organized MMA reaches its 20-year mark, more and more fighters are beginning the transition into the media.
Guys like Frank Trigg and Bas Rutten began the process a while back and now we're seeing some of the more recent UFC veterans working towards the next phase of their lives. Kenny Florian and Nate Quarry have a bonds of sorts. They'll always be part of the special crew that made up Season one of "The Ultimate Fighter" back in 2005. Now they've got something else in common. They're fighters turned broadcasters.
Quarry debuts tonight on Spike TV as one of the hosts of "MMA Uncensored Live" at 11 p.m. ET/PT. He says his show with radio host Craig Carton and MMA video interviewer Mike Straka will break the mold.
"It seems on the radio you get a lot more guys who give their opinion and talk about who they want to win. but as soon as they transfer from radio to TV it's like watching paint dry. Everyone's afraid to get excited about the fight and talk about who they think is going to win," said Quarry.
Quarry, 39, brought it pretty strong on several topics during a discussion on ESPN1100/98.9 FM. He spoke candidly about his former division and its champ.
"I'm sure he's been making so much money over the past few years and then you convertt that to Brazilian dollars, he's probably set for two or three lifetimes," Quarry said. "[...] Why would he necessarily want to go back into a three or fourth month fight camp, always in pain, always have to wake up and train when you've done so much already? There comes a point where he's saying "you know what? I've got enough money. I've got enough fame. My country loves me. I've set plenty of records.'"
Quarry thinks a victory over Chael Sonnen this summer could be the end of the road for Silva.
Meanwhile, Florian is under the UFC banner working for Fuel TV. His initial foray into broadcasting came with ESPN as part of its "MMA Live" show. Now his role's a bit different as the live fight analyst on Fuel TV. Florian, 35, knows the sport, can articulate the complicated aspects of it and will be critical when necessary. But he's not going to shred fighters, because he's been there.
"I hated it when I got critiqued as a fighter. So much goes into a fight that people never see, the countless hours of training, the diet, dealing with injuries. The worst feeling in the world, for me anyway, is to lose. Knowing how I felt, it's been hard for me to rip apart a guy after his fight," Florian told SI.com.
MMA is going to be well represented by a slew of former fighters who'll probably enter the media side of things over the next few years. Brian Stann made his TV debut at the Fuel TV 1 card and in just one showing exhibited the potential to be a top of the heap media personality.