Brian Stann parlayed a UFC fighting career into a commentary gig with the promotion, and quickly developed into one of the top color guys in the sport. So it was quite a shock a couple of weeks ago when Stann decided to walk away from the job. He has quite a few reasons for his departure, and he was able to explain in full detail as a recent guest on The MMA Hour.
First off, it was just simple logistics - he had to spend half of the weekends of the year away from his family (via MMA Fighting):
“I spent the entire 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. 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 — even if I didn’t work a regular job, that’s a lot of time to be away from my family. And as my girls get older, I mean, 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.”
Another was the fact that he wanted to be a leader, and an announcing job just didn’t seem like enough from that point of view:
“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.”
Finally, he decided to pursue an MBA and a position more suited to that due to the uncertainly in working in TV, which led him to landing a COO position in a ‘large real estate firm’:
“I decided to begin applying to a bunch of elite executive MBA programs,” Stann said. “And I thought to myself, after seeing Mike Goldberg leave, after seeing Kenny Florian kind of doing some different things, after seeing all of the changes at ESPN and all the changes at FOX Sports 1, you start to realize, ‘Man, a career in television, there’s a lot left up in the air.’ Just because people love you now at 36 does not mean they’ll love you when you’re 45. And so, when a bulk of my income is all resting in a fate that I really don’t have a lot of control over, I thought ‘OK, I want to hedge my bets and I’d like to go back to school, and I think getting an elite MBA would be very beneficial.’
“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.”
Hopefully Mr. Stann can be just as successful at his next position as he has been in every other job he’s had so far. That real estate firm’s gain is MMA’s loss.