Megan Anderson after a Feb. 2020 UFC Fight Night win. Feb 29, 2020; Norfolk, Virginia, USA; Megan Anderson (red gloves) celebrates beating Norma Dumont (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Chartway Arena. Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

The pivot from actively competing to commentating on sports is a tough one in many sports. MMA broadcaster Megan Anderson has recently made that move, shifting to broadcasting after her final fight in 2021 (at UFC 259). She currently serves as an analyst and an interviewer of fighters for ESPN’s UFC coverage, a sideline reporter and backstage interviewer for PFL, and an analyst for Invicta FC. In a recent phone conversation with Awful Announcing, Anderson said she is enjoying that career shift despite the hurdles.

“It is challenging in a lot of different ways. It’s rewarding as well to be able to still continue to be a part of the sport. It’s a great transition as I’m working to figure out my next move.”

Anderson, 33, said she thinks many feel the transition from fighting to broadcasting is easier than it actually is.

“I feel like a lot of fighters assume because they fought in the sport, they can immediately just go into the broadcast booth. It’s its own separate beast in and of itself. And within broadcasting, there are so many different sides; you have the analyst side, you have the commentating side, you have the sideline reporting and interviews. And each of them have their own small nuanced ways how to do things, how to respond to questions, how to ask questions, et cetera.”

She said that it’s been an enjoyable adaptation for her, though.

“There are so many facets of the broadcasting side that are challenging, but also rewarding. I am a person who loves learning new things. I love challenging myself, and going outside the box. And it’s a great way to challenge myself in a way that I don’t have to get punched in the face.”

Australian native Anderson (seen above after a February 2020 UFC fight) said she likes the diversity of her current roles.

“I currently am an analyst and also interview fighters for ESPN, which is predominately UFC. And I’m sideline reporting/backstage interviewing for PFL now, and I also do commentary for Invicta. I enjoy all three of them. And it’s kind of been really cool to see my growth and evolution in those places over the last year or so, to be able to see how I’ve progressed during that time, how I’ve transitioned.”

She said it’s important to realize the difference in what’s required for different roles, though.

“As an analyst, the way you respond to questions, there’s kind of like a particular type of format in responding to those questions. Or as a sideline reporter or backstage interviewer: when I’m interviewing someone for ESPN, I have time, it’s a lengthier conversation between me and the athlete. But when we’re backstage interviewing [for PFL], it’s quick; we’re trying to get through these, we’re on a live broadcast, I don’t have time to add a little but extra to the question. It’s finding those small balances in each particular area that fits what it requires.”

Last week saw Anderson be part of history, as she served as an analyst on the first all-female broadcast for Invicta FC 53 (alongside play-by-play voice Aly Trost Martin and analyst Julie Kedzie). She said those were great people to work with, and Invicta FC president Shannon Knapp has long been an advocate for boosting women in MMA.

“I’ve been working with Julie and Ali for a while now, both of them incredible at what they do,” Anderson said. “I haven’t necessarily seen a lot of negativity per se, but there’s going to be negativity in any field. I think for me it’s not about them, it’s about the product that we’re bringing. Shannon has always been a frontrunner in highlighting women and showcasing women and giving women a platform. And this is just another one of those avenues where we can help progress women to not just tell stories and highlight the athletes we’re commentating about, but also promote women in the broadcast space as well.”

Anderson said she’s hopeful she can continue to grow and advance in the broadcasting world.

“I would like to go as far as I can. I feel like I have a great mind for this sport, and it’s transitioned over to the broadcast side well. I love going and doing the stuff on the ESPN domestic side. I feel like we need more women in that space, particularly women that have fought at the UFC level. I think that elevates the brand and showcases how talented and amazing that women are all around, and that we can transfer over to the broadcast side seamlessly as well. I just want to go as high as I can go, honestly.”

Anderson is on Twitter at @MeganAnderson.

[Photo from Peter Casey/USA Today Sports]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.