It’s the holiday season, and with the new year quickly approaching, Combat Press is taking a look back at the best of MMA in 2015. Throughout the remainder of the year, Combat Press will announce its award winners in multiple categories, covering everything from the action in the cage to the biggest stories surrounding the sport.
Broadcast Analyst of the Year – Brian Stann
Chael Sonnen was once quoted in pre-fight hype saying about Brian Stann, “Brian Stann’s not afraid of me, he’s not afraid of 10 of me.” The way that Stann approached fighting and the way he approached the military before that is the same way he approaches broadcasting now. He’s fully prepared, full of passion and without fear. It shows in the way he calls the action on a broadcast and in the way he presents himself as a studio analyst and on Twitter.
2015 was Stann’s busiest year as a color commentator. He called 12 events, on average an event a month. The sky miles are racking up, too. Stann called fights mostly in the United States, but also called fights in the Philippines, Scotland, Brazil and Mexico. The increase in the number of events the UFC puts on each year has benefited Stann the most. The color commentary chair once reserved for Joe Rogan alone, and then in spots Kenny Florian, has now extended to Stann, and with the UFC’s desire to put big-name headlining fights on free television, Stann gets to call high-profile match-ups as well — Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber, Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson 3 and Edgar vs. Chad Mendes, to name a few.
Despite an all-accounts good relationship and great appearance on his podcast, it’s the contrast between Rogan and Stann that makes Stann popular. Most notably with the diehards, it’s Stann’s clear desire to inform contrasted with Rogan’s desire to entertain that has made him such a success. If a white belt in terms of MMA knowledge started watching a card that Stann called, by the end of the telecast they would at minimum be a blue belt. His insight is that good.
It’s an insight that isn’t only for the commentator’s desk. It extends to the in-studio analyst desk and also to any interview he grants, and he grants a lot. He’s very giving of his time to the sport and has made an effort to be more than just an ex-jock talking head, which he by all rights could do and do very well. He has transformed himself, as much as anyone in the sport, into a true media member, in the sense that he has sources and confirms things he is told and researches topics he is going to speak on. While he may never be able to give us the “Spilled Bag of Ice” type moments that Rogan gives us, Stann is very quietly becoming the most polished broadcaster in MMA and a real resource for those who want to have a deeper understanding of the sport.
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