Opinion: UFC should add second event commentary team

A UFC event lasts a long time. UFC 263 starts at 6 p.m. ET. With three five-round fights scheduled for the event, a 1…

By: Trent Reinsmith | 2 years ago
Opinion: UFC should add second event commentary team
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A UFC event lasts a long time. UFC 263 starts at 6 p.m. ET. With three five-round fights scheduled for the event, a 1 a.m. ET — or later — end time is not out of the question. That means the UFC broadcast team will be on site for more than that eight-hour window. That’s a long workday for the commentary team. With the three members of the commentary team tied to the desk for that long, it’s not a shock that they lose focus at some points in the broadcast. That’s why the UFC should consider two commentary teams for each event.

I’m sure I’m not the first to throw this idea out there. I know some organizations use this set up already — as was pointed out when I tweeted this thought during the UFC 262 broadcast — but the UFC isn’t one of those organizations. It should be.

The first reason I think this works is the simplest. It would reduce the workload of the broadcast team. If the commentators had to focus on fewer fights, it would increase their ability to stay dialed in on those bouts and reduce the amount of non-fight related asides and distractions.

The broadcasters could do deeper research with fewer fights to cover. For example, if the main team has to concentrate on five pay-per-view fights, they’ll have more time to speak to the fighters and their camps before the events and possibly get some interesting talking points or insights they can use during the broadcast. That ability to make the athletes identifiable and empathetic will only add to the fans’ ability to connect with them and develop stronger bonds. With that, fans will come back to future events to watch their favorite competitors.

With less time on the desk, the commentators — looking at you, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier — could remain focused on the action in the cage. It’s hard to follow when Rogan and Cormier slip into some inside joke that no one else is aware of. For instance, they recently referenced the sweater UFC commentator Din Thomas was wearing during an event. The only problem with that was viewers did not get to see Thomas on the broadcast.

Cormier and Rogan aren’t the only commentators who are guilty of this. There have been more than a few instances where one of the crew had to not so subtly direct attention back to the cage. Boredom has to play a part in at least some of these excursions from the commentary team.

An additional benefit of an added team is the ability to try different configurations and allow the best combination of personalities to rise to the top and become the go-to PPV squad. The second team would also allow the promotion to give more people a chance at commentating and trying them out as broadcasters.

I know the UFC has added a few fresh faces to the mix in studio and at the events — mostly former and current fighters — a second event team would allow the promotion to “graduate” some of those standouts to the cageside desk during events. Maybe they could also give a woman a shot at the commentary desk too.

One con I heard is that a second broadcast team would add expense to the bottom line. I can’t argue that adding three more people to the mix would do so, but I can argue that the UFC can easily absorb this cost thanks to the revenue it doesn’t share with the fighters. They could justify the expense because it could create a deeper pool of talent to choose from and allow the best to rise to the top of the heap and create an improved product for the viewing public.

The pros outweigh the cons here. The only problem I see is the UFC hesitates to change anything about its broadcast. The UFC have been mostly resistant to change, but the reality is there is no progress and no improvement without taking slight chances. Adding a broadcast team is a minor risk with the potential for a big payoff.

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About the author
Trent Reinsmith
Trent Reinsmith

Trent Reinsmith is a freelance writer based out of Baltimore, MD. He has been covering sports for more than 15 years, with a focus on MMA for most of that time. Trent focuses on the day-to-day business of MMA — both inside and outside the cage — for Bloody Elbow.

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