As he approaches his 30th career fight with the UFC, Matt Brown has heard plenty of voices call his fights over the years.
From the days of the two-man team featuring Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan to the revolving group of fighters now sitting behind the microphone from week-to-week, the veteran welterweight is very familiar with the people doing commentary on his performances, but unlike some athletes, he never really finds a reason to be offended by what’s being said about him.
In fact Brown said that he nearly always returns to his fights, and almost every time he learns something from the commentators calling the action.
” I absolutely do. The commentators can give you some insight into what you did wrong or things you should have done. I know from personal experience that [Daniel] Cormier is very critical. Brown stated this on the most recent episode of The Fighter vs. The writer . “He’s very critical of the techniques you’re using or things you could be doing or should be doing.
“Maybe others would interpret that as defensive. I take it as a positive. I can learn from it and grow from it and use it. I look at it as Cormier’s coaching me right now. These are things that I can do better .”
Daniel Cormier has become a fixture on UFC broadcasts over the past few years, especially now that he’s typically the third man in the booth alongside Rogan and play-by-play man Jon Anik for all of the major pay-per-view broadcasts.
His name came up more recently surrounding the return of Jon Jones as he prepares to make his heavyweight debut against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285.
It’s well documented that Cormier and Jones engaged in one of the most heated rivalries in the history of the sport but would that actually carry over to the way the fights are being called? Well Jones was quick to dispel the notion that Cormier shouldn’t call his fights while going as far as praising his former opponent and adding “I think you are really good at what you do.”
Of course, Cormier isn’t the first fighter doing commentary to face criticism over perceived bias during an event but Brown defends the former two-division UFC champion along with every other athlete doing an impossibly tough job hat requires them to be critical at times.
“There have been other times where guys have commented and I think that they just didn’t understand what I was doing,” Brown explained. “They just didn’t understand what I was doing and why I was doing what I was doing. This can be very frustrating if it is allowed to. However, I understand that they are doing a difficult job.
“I’ve commented before on regional, smaller shows. It’s f******* hard. It’s exhausting to sit there and talk about these fights for 3-4 hours. Sometimes, you just need to say s ***. Sometimes, you just have to say s***. I do have sympathy for them on that part.”
In his own career, Brown says there was only one moment where he took issue with the commentary during his fights but even that didn’t really enrage him or make him feel like the broadcast team was somehow against him.
“There is one instance when I didn’t enjoy the commentary. It was during Dhiego Peru and Michael Bisping were commentating.” Brown stated. “He was talking about some of the bad things that I was doing. Similar to what I said before. I believe he didn’t get it. One thing that I want commentators to understand is that there are many ways to accomplish the same task. Everyone will be biased in their own way.
“I’m sympathetic towards what they are doing and Bisping is great at what he does. It’s a hard job.”
Although ex-fighters now make up the bulk of broadcast teams in the UFC’s broadcast division, Brown considers Rogan to be the standard for comment, though he certainly appreciates all voices that contribute to the broadcasts.
“Joe Rogan is probably the best of all-time and he’s good at saying what they’re doing without sounding critical,” Brown said. “He’s just very good at wording things without sounding critical. Other guys aren’t. Bisping is an honest guy. This is his personality.
” I’ve seen it done on regional TV shows. Sometimes you watch a fight and a guy is doing something and you just can’t figure out why he’s doing it and you’re like this dude just f****** sucks. They may be feeling that in their head but I’ve never taken it as [malicious] or as a slight against me.”
According to Brown, he still puts Rogan at the top of his list for commentators but he has also enjoyed one of the newest team members who started calling fights for the UFC just a few weeks ago.
“I think [Laura Sanko] adds a great dimension to it,” Brown said. She said, “Again, everything she has to say, at least in my opinion, was very useful and well-spoken and clear.”
“I think she does a tremendous job. She may not yet be there, but she will be the greatest commentator since Joe Rogan .”
New episode of The Fighter vs. The Writer with Matt Brown and Damon Martin drop every Tuesday. Find audio-only versions of the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, iHeartRadio and Stitcher