Often after UFC events, armchair announcers call for a change. Goldie could be replaced by a soundboard because all he does is call out the time remaining in the round and shout "it. is. all. over!" when someone gets finished. And certainly uncomfortable with his reverse syntax are fight fans, Joe. Then there's Rogan, who gets overexcited about everything and hyperbolizes every fight. "Leonard Garcia is so strong it's a curse!" "This is the greatest comeback/brawl/fight in UFC history!"
It's easy to criticize how much Joe and Goldy overdo their calls. It seems they get carried away at least once on every card. "They're too hot," we say. "Mellow out," we say.
But tonight, at UFC on FX 2, we saw what it's like when an announcer is too cold. I don't think I've ever seen a finish more severely underhyped. That was an incredible reversal to mounted guillotine choke achieved by Martin Kampmann with under a minute remaining in what was almost surely a losing effort today. That deserved some excitement. But there was literally no change in Anik or Florian's voice at this incredible reversal of fortunes. They sounded... bored.
So which is worse? Would you rather hear Joe repeat his Tim Boetch performance and call Kampmann's submission the greatest come from behind victory of all time? Or would you rather hear Florian and Anik sound like there are 100 places they would rather be than sitting cageside at one of the coolest turnarounds of the year? At least Rogan recognized his excitability.
Personally, I'd rather the announcer err on the side of being fans than bored spectators. This is a fight, not a tennis match. I want my announcers to treat it as such.
Let's face it, as the UFC expands the number of events that happen each year, it's not going to be possible to have Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg calling every fight. Anik is pretty new to the game, and I think he's got the voice for this job, but he has a long way to go in a lot of areas. In addition to his utterly flabbergasting call of the Kampmann/Alvez fight, his interview skills were terrible tonight. He has none of the relaxed comfortable air that Joe Rogan brings when he comes to the cage, and his sense of how long to point the microphone at a fighter left Kampmann rambling on much longer than was interesting without a rescue followup from Anik. And that chemistry that exists between Rogan and Goldberg conversationally is literally nowhere to be seen with Anik and Florian on the mic.
So how do we solve this problem? I honestly felt that the calls tonight were worse than some Strikeforce shows I've seen, even counting Gus Johnson's reliable awfulness.
Some have suggested that Anik move up to the main show and call fights with Rogan, but can you imagine anything less enticing than a fight called by Florian and Goldberg?
I think some of the fault lies with Florian. Florian is, if anything, a colder color guy than Anik is a playcaller. Perhaps the answer might be a change in that department instead. Kenny is a very good analyst, but when it comes to calling fights, he's only exacerbating Anik's weaknesses. They feed off each other and by the time the card was over they were dry ice. I was afraid they were going to hit absolute zero.
What do you think? How can the UFC help Anik along?