The broadcast team for UFC 264 has been set and it features some well-known names in the combat sports world.
A report from Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie revealed that Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman — two of the biggest personalities and commentators on ESPN right now — will serve as desk analysts for the event. Smith will be on the main desk alongside ESPN studio anchor Michael Eaves and former UFC champions Michael Bisping and Dominick Cruz. Kellerman will be on the secondary desk alongside veteran UFC anchor Karyn Bryant.
Other assignments such as the cageside commentary team, octagon announcer and roving reporter keeps things familiar with names that are synonymous with pay-per-view event coverage. The cageside team has Jon Anik joined by Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier to provide play-by-play commentary throughout the night. The octagon announcer sees Bruce Buffer back on the microphone to deliver the grand introductions of each and every fighter on the card. The roving reporter is to be shared by longtime correspondents Megan Olivi and Laura Sanko, so look out for them as they provide extra coverage.
Of all the names on the broadcast team, Smith may be the most polarizing considering some of his takes on mixed martial arts have drawn the ire of the community on several occasions. He has previously lambasted UFC veteran Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone for his performance against Conor McGregor at UFC 246 and later doubled down on those comments after being called out by the aforementioned Rogan. Smith also received backlash for his statements regarding women fighting in the Octagon, which saw names like Cris Cyborg and Julie Kedzie deliver scathing responses to the pundit.
Although he has drawn negative reaction during his appearances on UFC broadcasts, Smith will remain a fixture of them, especially when those big pay-per-view events come around.
UFC 264 takes place this Saturday and will be headlined by the much anticipated trilogy fight between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.