EXCLUSIVE | UFC’s Jon Anik Hoping For Good Fights And Air-Conditioning In Brazil This Weekend
Jon Anik is hoping for two things this Sunday night at UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Henderson 2: great fights and air conditioning.
Anik, who will make the call from Natal, Brazil alongside Brian Stann, recently talked with BJPenn.com about the event that features a rematch of the 2011 “Fight of the Year” between Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson.
“I am just hoping we get air conditioning this time,” he laughed. “I’ve been known to sweat a few times if I’m not in air conditioning, so I am hoping for that.”
Anik knows that – air conditioning or no AC – the Ginasio Nelio Dias will be packed to the rafters with Brazilian fans, just like it is for each event the UFC brings to the country.
This marks the second time the UFC has visited Brazil already this year, with more trips planned for 2014.
“It doesn’t matter if the card is in the middle of the night or in prime time, the fans show up to see the UFC,” he said. “The novelty hasn’t worn off yet and I don’t think it ever will wear off.”
Being a former member of the ESPN team, it is pretty easy for Anik to pinpoint why prelims for Brazilian – and most other foreign cards – are fought in front of a large fan base, as opposed to Las Vegas events not seeing people show up until the main card.
“Fighting in the afternoon in Las Vegas, you know you aren’t going to be fighting in front of a crowd. There are just so many more options on the pro sports landscape than in Brazil,” Anik said. “That is just the way it goes for MMA and boxing in the U.S.
“(But Sunday night) starting with the first fight, it will be packed to the nines, and that makes for a special evening.”
Being someone who puts themselves in the public eye as a play-by-play man, Anik knows he is opening himself up to criticism. After years in the business, though, it’s starting to bounce off him more and more.
“It comes with the territory,” he said. “I did a Rutgers football game and had half the student body coming after me.
“But I’ve become seasoned to it. Once you’ve been in the broadcast business as long as I have, you understand these are live events – not on tape. Whatever you say is out there.”
While baseball pitchers strive for that perfect game on the mound, Anik knows that is not realistic for him, saying, “I know I will retire before I have a perfect broadcast.”
MMA fans and media can continue to say what they want on Twitter and other sites, Anik is only concerned with pleasing the fighters he is calling action for.
“It’s about them, shining the spotlight on them and I hope my commentary reflects that,” he said. “I still feel like I am coach-able and only beginning to cut my teeth in broadcasting.”
Following the night that UFC 171 presented this past weekend, Anik believes this card can help carry the momentum forward.
“It’s nice when you have a show like UFC 171 to piggy-back on,” he stated. “We have a great chance to keep the momentum going in our favor with a great night of fights.”
By Dana Becker | Twitter