It’s no secret that the MMA world stood still in the moments directly after Amanda Nunes knocked out Ronda Rousey in a dominating 48-second show of force in the main event of last month’s (December 30, 2017) UFC 207 from Las Vegas.
But one man who wasn’t afforded the luxury of stepping back to take in the shocking scene was Octagon analyst Jon Anik, who had to make a seamless transition from the UFC 207 pay-per-view (PPV) broadcast to the FOX Sports post-fight show mere seconds after Nunes stopped Rousey.
It was a harrowing scene even for the experienced broadcaster, and he elaborated on the unique circumstances in a recent appearance on MMA Junkie Radio, deeming it one of the strangest things he’s had to do on television following more than a year of hype and build-up:
“Having to go on the air 30 seconds literally after Amanda Nunes knocked out Ronda Rousey was sort of one of the weirdest things I’ve had to do on TV. We do it all the time, we do these post-fight shows, but we knew we were going to go quickly and it was really hard to just collect my thoughts after that moment. It was just stunning the way it went down.
“You had 400-plus days of build-up for Ronda Rousey’s return only to see it come crashing down in a matter of seconds. And it came on the heels of a classic between Cody Garbrandt and Dominick Cruz that went the full 25 minutes, so you thought you were settling in for a little bit of fighting, and you didn’t get it.”
Anik also had the presence of mind to give “The Lioness” her due in a time of flailing media critcism of Rousey, adding that he could have taken an entire show to praise Nunes:
“We could spend 30 minutes on Amanda Nunes if we just want to leave the show with that and talk about Nunes. She gave you enough in that fight and in that fight week with the way she handled everything, to talk about for 30 minutes. So big ups for Amanda Nunes.”
The week leading up to UFC 207 provided another unique scenario in that Rousey refused to do any and all media, making it like no other PPV card due to the nonexistent amount of appearances on which to gauge her return. Many felt the extra time allowed to focus on the fight would propel her to a win, but that wasn’t the case:
“We’ve got to be super careful on the broadcast, because potentially we’re calling the fights of these individuals,” Anik said. “So a lot of the noise you try to tune out. It’s interesting when it comes to this fight, because intangibly you had to look at those things for Ronda Rousey.
“So that was all we were able to focus on, we weren’t able to focus on anything cause she wasn’t giving us anything. And as far as a lot of people were concerned, that was going to be something that worked on her advantage. It didn’t.”
Finally, Anik touched on how Rousey was in new territory attempting to come back from her loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, and that was a tall task even elite athletes have a tough time with. He recalled the example of Luke Rockhold – who was knocked out by Michael Bisping on a smaller comparative scale – and added Rousey didn’t exactly handle it well while noting he didn’t want to join the ranks of media members heaping criticisms on ‘Rowdy’:
“After the Holly Holm fight, one thing critically I did say – and maybe it’s not even that critical – was, ‘Here’s Ronda Rousey walking into her new life’. Like Luke Rockhold loses to Michael Bisping, ‘Welcome to your new life, bro.’ I saw him three months later. Luke just shook my hand, just shaking his head still. So, you walk back to your new life and not a lot of people can handle it.
“I don’t think she handled it well but certainly don’t look at me to pile on when the world is piling on her.”