It looks as though there could be some changes coming to the UFC commentary team. Well, for the next few events, anyway.
The excellently named Lance Pugmire broke the news over at the LA Times, telling us that the two champions will be handling the colour commentary duties for the next two Fight Night cards broadcast on Fox Sports 1.
Fight Night play-by-play man Jon Anik shed some light on the new challenges facing bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier:
“We’re on for seven hours. It’s like calling back-to-back Super Bowls. It’s a job for the analyst coming in to pace themselves, to leave room in their register for 3:30 a.m. Brazil time, when the final fight is going to be happening and we need to make sure we’re at our peak. It’s 26 fighters, and you better know them all or the avid followers will let you know about it.”
Needless to say, the pair should provide some excellent insight into the action in front of them. For Cruz, he expressed his desire to remain as partial as possible, saying,
“My job is color commentary. I provide color and commentary to the people who might not understand what’s really going on. That means I have no opinion on anything. I’m to state facts about what is happening at the current time with the match-up. By me saying this match is not supposed to happen, I’m putting my opinion out there. And to be perfectly honest, that is probably going to be one of the hardest parts about your job that people don’t understand — your opinions don’t matter, it’s about stating the facts. That’s what my job is. Should or should they not be fighting is an opinion.”
Cruz’s strong opinion on…his lack of opinions…I think, is key here. A number of the hardcore fanbase like to take umbrage with Joe Rogan’s colour commentary gig for precisely this reason: he occasionally acts more like a fan than a neutral observer. Personally, I have no gripes with Rogan – I think he’s still the best we’ve got, dammit. His passion is unmatched, and his insight is generally useful. With that said however, I’ve been long awaiting an addition of a fighter to the commentary squad (be it a current one, or retired). They add an extra layer of technical analysis that helps the broadcast (so long as it’s not Frank Mur calling a Miguel Torres fight). Both Cruz and Cormier are two of the better talking heads from FOX (Dan Hardy and Rashad Evans are always enjoyed around these parts, too) so the transition to a full-nights worth of fights shouldn’t be all that difficult for them. I for one, am looking forward to it.