UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik is worn down by the streamline of negative comments, tweets and messages from the MMA fanbase, particularly in the wake of UFC 297.
Dricus Du Plessis and Sean Strickland fought in a closely contested battle Saturday in Toronto. While the fight was viewed as a toss-up by some, the reactions from critics of Du Plessis’ decision victory left a bad taste in Anik’s mouth – one he admits continues to get more sour as time goes on.
The wave of pessimism was not an isolated incident. As much as he tries to interact with fans on social media, Anik said the attitudes reciprocated have turned him off.
“I try to be that accessible conduit for the fans, “Anik said on the “Anik & Florian Podcast.” “What I’m finding is that 90 percent of what I am sifting through is negative. A lot of those comments are said in an antagonistic, attacking-type of way. I’ve got three kids and just better things to do with my time, but again, I’m trying to be accessible. Especially after a fight like this, I want to be able to engage.
“But when I see the venom that some of the people are coming at us with, it just makes me disengage. I guess maybe my thesis statement should be if you see me disengage and not be as omnipresent or accessible on X, it’s because the fanbase is starting to turn me off. … This sport is getting worse by the minute in terms of all the negativity.”
— Anik & Florian Podcast (@AnikFlorianPod) January 25, 2024
Anik, a UFC commentator since 2011, admitted the growing attacks and projection of gloom have him reconsidering his professional involvement with the sport.
“I am growing tired of this MMA space a little bit and just the morass of negativity when there is a close fight,” Anik said. “Because even if you and I both thought Dricus Du Plessis won the fight, we try to present that information respectfully. When I go onto X or I go to our YouTube comments, it just seems like a lot of these fans are just in attack mode. I don’t know if these fans are casual fans or not, but I appreciate the passion. But I’m getting to the point at 45 years of age where I don’t know how much time I have left in this MMA space because if I go do pro football, I’m not going to necessarily be dealing with this lowest common denominator all the time. I don’t know, man.
“I just feel like there’s a lot of malice and disrespect from the fanbase. We can disagree. Don’t take it from me. Demetrious Johnson and Kenny Florian thought DDP won the fight. I don’t know. I’ve just been very off-put with the negativity that has permeated my feed since Saturday night. I’m just not sure how much longer I have in this space.”