One of the biggest moves by the UFC as to spare us 32 events with Mike Goldberg, was hire Jon Anik and Kenny Florian full-time for all of the FX and FUEL shows whilst Goldie and Rogan yell during the PPVs. Anik was well-respected hosting MMA Live and as Bellator's commentator before Sean Wheelock came in, and Florian always performed amicably when Rogan was away.
It has backfired. Badly. Like many things the UFC has done this year, but that's for another fanpost.
Jon Anik does not have an authoritative voice. He's born with it, there's nothing that can be done. Anik is bewilderingly not authoritative as a commentator. I cannot think of a single fight involving a finish that he has actually done play-by-play on. Here's how a typical Anik/Florian combo sounds at the height of a KO or a sub:
Florian: "And Menjivar has a deep rear naked choke here, Jon!
Florian: "Menjivar has it in really deep and he's going to finish it here. AND HE DOES!
Anik: "So Ivan Menjivar is victorious tonight!"
That's like Phil Simms describing an entire NFL play live only for Jim Nantz to interject with "So Andre Johnson with the touchdown there for Houston." And you don't want Phil Simms talking.
Anik has also gone into speaking entirely in cliches and cheesy puns, similar to Goldberg but in English. He refers to chins as "beards", has on multiple occasions called routine knockouts as "(punch/kick) heard around the world", and generally just does no actual play-by-play. Florian does almost all the work (as does Rogan) and Anik comes off as timid despite clearly being more knowledgeable than Goldberg about MMA.
Kenny Florian is bad. And I will not accept inexperience as an excuse. He's done more than enough fights to know how to analyze fights and do commentary and he's so bad at it. Just some observations from the last few cards:
- About 40 seconds in Clay Guida landed a jab or 2 while Maynard was missing shots and he actually said Guida is outstriking Maynard. It's not until later on he said "I know it's early". It's still a stupid remark to make.
- After Guida got out of Maynard's guillotine choke and got into full guard Florian shouted "CLAY GUIDA IS A BEAST!" as if avoiding being stopped by Gray Maynard's submissions is an amazing accomplishment.
- I counted three different pronunciations of "D'arce choke". Florian called it "Darce", "Dar-say" and "Dee-are-say" and seemingly couldn't handle just one way of saying it.
- "This is high level Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Waldburger". During the Waldburger/Ebersole 2nd round, Waldburger transitioned to multiple submission attempts in a few seconds only to lose all three of them and get pounded on. Also, I am not a grappling expert, but the armbar attempt he had during this commentary saw him cross his feet. That's not how I've ever seen it done.
- Jon Anik called Leonard Garcia an "accurate striker".
- Anik dipped into the Zuffa hyperbole and said Tom Lawlor's KO of Jason MacDonald was a "signature win". Yes, Lawlor's signature win is a guy who is 6-7 in the UFC and aged 37. You'd think beating CB Dollaway or "former title challenger" Patrick Cote would be more significant but I guess not.
- "HIGH CROTCH" over and over and over. Also, I'm tired of hearing "Run the Pipe".
Anik is young and maybe he can improve, but Florian is awful and needs to stick to that FUEL TV show and studio panel stuff. Get Couture or even Mir (but brief him beforehand which arena he's in) as they actually don't take over a broadcast.
Actually, the UFC broadcasts need almost a complete revamp. If we can combine Anik and/or Schiavello's knowledge of MMA with the deep broadcasting voice of Harry Kalas, Kevin Harlan, Marv Albert, etc. and pair him up with a rotating set of analysts like Joe Rogan, Randy Couture, Stephan Bonnar, Frank Mir, etc. then the commentary experience would be significantly more enjoyable. When we have another war like Shogun/Hendo I do not want a play-by-play of the clock with excitement like "40 SECONDS!" and "25 SECONDS!", I want actual commentary. Anik and Goldberg currently do not provide this and it's their job to do so.
Both broadcast teams are substandard, especially Anik and Florian. Do something different, UFC.