UFC 291 broadcast team has surprising new addition

UFC 291 will include Joe Rogan on the mic and a surprising addition to its analyst desk, someone who has not worked a show in over 16 months.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 months ago

UFC 291 goes down in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, July 29. The fight card features a number of thrilling match-ups inside the cage, including—as the main event—Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2.

The co-main sees former champions Alex Pereira and Jan Blachowicz go at in the light heavyweight division (marking Poatan’s debut at that weight). Beyond those fights there are other big match-ups including names like Tony Ferguson, Kevin Holland and Stephen Thompson.

UFC 291 commentary team of Joe Rogan, Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier.

We’ve known the names of those who would be in the cage for sometime, but now we know who will be around the cage, too — and there is one surprising name among those.

UFC 291 preview.

UFC 291 announces broadcast team

According to MMAJunkie the commentary team for UFC 291 will be a three man booth of Jon Anik, Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier, as is expected on PPV cards in the United States.

Bruce Buffer will of course be there as the Octagon announcer. Megan Olivi will also be on site working as the roving reporter.

When it comes to the desk analysts there is a surprising inclusion.

Joining former UFC title challenger Anthony Smith and respected vet and coach Din Thomas will be former UFC middleweight and light heavyweight title challenger Chael Sonnen.

Sonnen, who challenged Anderson Silva and Jon Jones during his fighting career, has not been part of an official UFC broadcast since UFC 272 in March, 2002.

Chael Sonnen’s absence was controversial

Chael Sonnen left his regular UFC analyst duties after he was accused of attacking multiple people inside the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas.

That incident occurred in December 2021 and resulted in Sonnen being charged with five counts of misdemeanor battery. The following January all charges were dropped against Sonnen.

Then, in March, new information lead to Sonnen being charged with one count of felony battery by strangulation, along with 10 other misdemeanor battery charges. Some of those charges related to the accusation that Sonnen had struck a woman.

Sonnen’s charges were then reduced to six misedemeanors. Sonnen was due to go on trial over these charges. However, two weeks ago he reached a plea deal which saw him plead no contest to one charge of “breaching the peace”. That resulted in Sonnen having to pay a $750 fine.

Sonnen remains a defendant in a civil case stemming from this incident.

Sonnen’s analyst chops were missed

Despite Sonnen’s recent (and past controversies) The American Gangster remains one of the more interesting talking heads on the MMA scene. And not being on a UFC broadcast team does not seem to have dulled his senses when it comes to unleashing a scorching take or soundbite that folks like us will make hay out of for days.

Sonnen, who was one of very few fighters who didn’t elicit a cringe when he grabbed the mic away from Rogan, first worked as an analyst with ESPN in 2014. Since then he has worked for Global Force Wrestling, World Series of Fighting and Bellator.

Sonnen also produces his own show where he analyzes the news of the day. That’s shared on his personal YouTube channel.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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