Laura Sanko has come a long way since her days as a roving reporter for the UFC.
On Saturday night, Sanko made history by becoming the first female to commentate for a major UFC event in the Zuffa era. Emanating from The APEX in Las Vegas, Sanko joined John Gooden and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping to call the action, which included the Road to the UFC tournament finals. In the main event of the evening, Serghei Spivak scored a first-round submission over perennial contender Derrick Lewis.
Laura Sanko’s performance was largely praised as she held her own alongside her more experienced counterparts. Following the event, UFC president Dana White shared his thoughts on her performance while speaking to Megan Olivi.
“This was her destiny and she’s been a savage since the day she walked in here, pushing for this hard,” White said. “Tonight was her big night. She delivered. I had tons of people texting me talking about what a great job she did and I’m happy for her.”
Dana White Confirms We Will Be Seeing More of Laura Sanko at the Commentary Table
Though Saturday’s card was the highest-profile event Laura Sanko has called for the Las Vegas-based promotion, she is far from a stranger to the commentary table. After receiving a cold call to commentate for Invicta FC in 2014, Sanko joined the UFC broadcast team two years later, operating as a backstage reporter and interviewer. She received the opportunity to call fights for Dana White‘s Contender Series in 2021. After receiving critical acclaim, it was just a matter of time before she made the leap from Tuesday nights to Saturday.
“Being elevated to this new UFC Fight Night role is exciting for many reasons,” Sanko said in an interview with AA. “Like most people in business, I set short-term and long-term goals. And being able to serve as the color commentator for a UFC card felt so distant when I started. But with each step in my career, I realized it was obtainable.
“So there is something very surreal about achieving a goal, and a reset that comes with adjusting your mindset from this being a goal to now being a reality. I can point to the hard work and know passion and skillset pays off. And that can help me as I create new goals for myself, both in short and long term.”
Laura Sanko was the first woman to sit in the booth since famed kickboxer Kathy Long did so at UFC 1 on November 12, 1993.
“Yeah, of course,” White said when asked if we would continue to see Sanko in the booth at UFC events.