Stann explains why he left UFC commentating job

Monday, September 11, 2017

Late last month war hero, retired UFC middleweight, and now former color commentator for the UFC Brian Stann announced a career change, citing increased opportunities for family time.

“I have been offered an amazing leadership role with a fast-growing real estate firm and will be attending Northwestern (Kellogg) for my executive MBA this fall,” he wrote on his social network.

Now during an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, he detailed why.

“I spent the entire (past) weekend with my kids, and I’ve been able to do that for several weekends in a row, which doesn’t typically happen for me, and that’s a big reason why this switch took place,” said Stann, as transcribed by Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting. “As you know, I love calling fights, and I loved being a sports analyst. I loved my time in college football and I loved my time calling fights in the UFC, and for a long time I thought, ‘Hey, this is something I’m going to do for the next 15 to 20 years.’

“The difficulty becomes, obviously, that you’re always working the weekends. Just for a stateside fight in the country, I would leave on Thursday, I wouldn’t come home until Sunday. If I was going out of the country, which I did a lot of international shows, I would leave on a Wednesday, I wouldn’t get home until Monday.

“I did 26 shows last year alone, that’s half the weekends. And even if I didn’t work a regular job, which I do… that’s a lot of time to be away from my family. And as my girls get older, I’m missing soccer games, I can’t coach any of my kids’ teams. Eventually, I’m going to start missing semis, homecoming, proms, things of that nature if this is my chosen career path. And ultimately, in addition to the time away from family, there’s just no guarantees in television, right? Things can change in the heat of the moment.

“We don’t know what network the UFC is going to be on in a year-and-a-half. They don’t know. They’re going to go through those deals, and for guys like me, what happens? I’ve got three kids, and as comfortable and secure as I feel in my abilities as an analyst, there’s a lot that’s up in air that’s kind of left to chance there. And then, really the third reason, and this would occur to me a lot — as much as I loved calling fights and I thought about my future, I’m not building anything, I’m not leading anything, and I just, I didn’t want that to be my career. When I look back at what I’ve done with the best years of my professional life, I didn’t want to just say, ‘Man, I called some really great fights.’ I wanted to do something a little bit more than that.”

“I had a great conversation with [UFC Executive VP of Operations & Production] Craig Borsari, and I felt that he was really upfront and honest with me about the unknowns of the television future, in terms of what network they may be on. It could be FOX, it could be a number [of different networks], it could split. We don’t know, and so there’s no guarantee that they can give me right now, outside of the fact of saying, ‘Hey look, we really love your work, we appreciate everything you’re doing, and we plan to use you very often, but there’s no guarantee there.’

“So when [the new offer came], the opportunity was just far too good to pass up. It’s an incredible company, it’s fast-growing, it’s got a great private equity company behind it that I really respect the leadership. … It’s an opportunity that I simply can’t pass up, where I’m going to get the chance to build something in a company that’s going to probably triple in size in the next two years.”

“As a parent, we all know, the best things with our families happen on weekends. And as much as I love this sport and I love the athletes, I love the coaches, I love calling fights — man, to sacrifice half the weekends a year away from my kids, I know at 50 years old I would’ve looked back on that, I would’ve regretted it bad.”

The world of combat sports is not kind to the old, but Brian Stann is forging a path that may well once again make him a role model.