Calling fights as an analyst on FOX isn't quite as enjoyable as winning fights in the Octagon, but it's a close second. In fact, when I got offered the role with FOX, I couldn't have said 'yes' quick enough.
I love the job they have given me and I'm extremely grateful for it. Every job I've ever had has been a hard-woking, blue collar-esque job and to get the opportunity to earn money doing something you enjoy is truly a blessing. Ultimately, I'm talking about something I am passionate about and talking about men I have the utmost respect for. I like and admire all of the fighters I speak about and, in many cases, have built bonds and friendships with them. So now you want to give me the chance to discuss and praise them on national television? Great.
More than anything it's really fun to go to work on those FOX shows. And that's all anybody wants from a job, isn't it? They want to go to work and have fun, and when I'm working for FOX as a pundit, that is exactly what I have each and every time.
It's also made me an even bigger fan and follower of my sport. I was always a big fan of mixed martial arts in the first place, of course, but now I'm watching even more film than ever and have my eye on an even greater field of fighters. Normally when you're preparing for a fight your sole focus will be on the guy you're about to face, but since I've landed this job with FOX my eyes have been opened to every single fighter in my division, and those in all the other divisions as well. I'm constantly analyzing film in between fights now.
The tricky part of the job is saying the right thing, but not insulting anybody. These are my co-workers, and I have a common bond with these men, so it can be difficult criticize them on national television. I would be devastated if I found out my comments had hurt one of these fighters, as I know what they go through in training and I know how hard this job of ours is. I know all about the sacrifices and the pain. Lucky for me, I find it quite easy to do this job without being negative. I can pick somebody to win a fight, but do so without being disrespectful of the other fighter. I try to be positive and pick someone to win, and not someone to lose.
Part of this job is to give your opinion, but that's all it is. In the grand scheme of things, my opinion or my breakdown won't impact the way a fight goes. There's really no need to make it out to be something bigger than it actually is. I'm asked for my opinion on a fight, and I offer that opinion. Remember, fighters prove critics wrong every single week, and I'm certainly no prophet.
I like to think I’m doing well, and I was very proud when Yahoo! did an article and had me among the best color commentators on UFC on FOX. I’m trying to get better every time, and there's also nothing wrong with holding your hands up and saying, 'I really don't know who's going to win this fight'. I've done that plenty of times, in fact, and have never felt guilty for doing it. Sometimes a fight is simply too close to call, and we see a lot of those kind of fights in the UFC. The great thing about FOX is they never push you for an answer. They don't try to coax you into being controversial or making a pick. All they do is ask you to break down a fight, go through the qualities of both fighters, and then it's left up to you to decide whether you want to call the result or not.
I've always felt comfortable in front of the camera and this is no different for me. I love being in the studio and I love working with professionals, both in front of the camera and behind it, too. I've been part of many genuinely nerve-wracking situations in my life and, when you stack them all up, appearing on television to talk about something I love doesn't rank very high up there. Believe me, if they were asking me to go on live television and break down how an iPad works, you'd probably see me nervous and in a world of trouble, but that's not what this FOX job entails. I'm talking about fighting and it's not particularly complicated. Everything I say is set up for me, in the sense that I'm being asked questions about the sport I love and then answering them. Really, it's a dream job for any fighter and also any fan out there. I consider myself both a fighter and fan of this sport and, therefore, I'm a really happy man right now...
Follow me on Twitter @BrianStann
UFC middleweight contender and FOX analyst Brian Stann meets Michael “The Count” Bisping on Saturday, September 22 at UFC 152, Live on Pay-Per-View.
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