UFC 294 commentary booth will feature friendly face for Islam Makhachev

The UFC has announced the team who will be working the desk at UFC 294 this weekend in Abu Dhabi.

By: Tim Bissell | 1 month ago
UFC 294 commentary booth will feature friendly face for Islam Makhachev
UFC 294 headliner Islam Makhachev after his win over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. | Jasmin Frank / USA TODAY Network, IMAGO

UFC 294 is this weekend

UFC 294 goes down in Abu Dhabi this weekend. The main event has Islam Makhachev defending his UFC lightweight strap against UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. Makhachev took a unanimous, albeit close, decision over Volkanovski at UFC 284 in February in his first ever title defence.

Makhachev was due to face Charles Oliveira this weekend, the man he beat to claim the vacant lightweight belt in 2022. However, that fell through when Oliveira suffered a nasty cut.

The UFC 294 co-main event has also seen some tweaking. Initially Paulo Costa was supposed to fight Khamzat Chimaev. However, the Brazilian undertook elbow surgery and—despite claiming he could still compete—was removed from the match-up. Chimaev will now meet former UFC welterweight champion, and fellow Dominance MMA client, Kamaru Usman.

UFC 294 Embedded

Islam Makhachev will have friend calling his fight

The UFC announced the media team for this weekend’s event and it includes a friendly face for Islam Makhachev. According to MMA Junkie former UFC heavyweight and light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier will be on the call in Abu Dhabi.

Cormier is friend and former teammate of Islam Makhachev, both of whom have trained under Javier Vasquez at the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) in San Jose, CA.

Joining Cormier on the call will be former (and maybe current) UFC lightweight Paul Felder and Jon Anik.

Laura Sanko, Brendan Fitzgerald and Chael Sonnen will serve as desk analysts. Megan Olivi will be the roving reporter and Bruce Buffer will be the Octagon announcer.

Opinion split on Cormier calling Makhachev’s fight

When news broke regarding Daniel Cormier’s role at UFC 294, fans were split on whether this was a good or a bad move by the promotion.

One X user sarcastically announced “I’m sure he will call it right down the middle.”

Another user defended the choice, though, claiming, “I don’t see any problem with it. He called Islam vs. Oliveira on point. Even hyping Oliveira bit too much.”

What isn’t up for debate is whether Cormier calling his friend’s fight could influence the outcome of the match. The cageside judges won’t be paying attention to commentary, even if they could hear it. So it is incredibly unlikely that Cormier’s effusiveness for his buddy’s performance could influence a scorecard.

Whether or not sycophantic commentary from Cormier towards Makhachev might spoil some fans’ enjoyment is another matter entirely. I honestly think this is one of situations where, if you like Cormier’s commentary, this doesn’t bother you. Those who are crying foul, probably don’t enjoy DC’s work for any other number of reasons.

June 18, 2022, Austin, Texas, Austin, TX, United States: AUSTIN, TX - JUNE 18: Former UFC Champion Daniel Cormier during the UFC Fight Night: Kattar v Emmett event at Moody Center on June 18, 2022 in Austin, Texas, United States. Austin, Texas United States - ZUMAp175 20220618_zsa_p175_101
UFC 294 commentator Daniel Cormier working the mix at UFC Austin. | Louis Grasse / ZUMA Wire, IMAGO

Those who aren’t thrilled need to suck it up. Or just press mute.

The UFC community is small (even with Dana White signing every Contender Series fighter and their dog). Every former fighter who works these shows has either fought against, trained with or twitter beefed with someone on the card. How much those figures play up those angles is up to them. Their only loyalty is to the UFC and doing a job their bosses are proud of. So far, Cormier hasn’t seen to have put a foot wrong when it comes to doing that.

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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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