Mixed martial arts fans pined for a certain kind of color commentator for years, especially inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship. When Brian Stann retired and picked up the headset, they finally got their wish Now, they'll be left searching again -- at least temporarily -- as Stann is exiting the booth.
On Monday, Stann took to Instagram to announce that he would be leaving his role as analyst and color commentator for the UFC to pursue other opportunities. Chiefly, Stann mentioned that he would become chief operating officer of a real estate firm and would be heading back to school to complete his MBA at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management.
“I am announcing my departure from calling fights w/ the UFC. I have been offered an amazing leadership role with a fast growing Real Estate Firm and will be attending Northwestern (Kellogg) for my executive MBA this fall,” Stann wrote in an Instagram post. “Thank you to everyone for years of support, especially the athletes and coaches whom I love deeply. I will continue to be a huge MMA supporter and attend many events. Thank you to everyone from FOX and Zuffa who helped me so much in this journey.”
Stann, 36, is a captain in the United States Marine Corps and was awarded the Silver Star in 2006 for his actions under fire during Operation Matador in Iraq, where Stann was instrumental in preserving the lives of 42 marines under six days of insurgent fire. After his military career, “All-American” became an MMA fighter, winning the World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight title from Doug Marshall in March 2008.
The Scranton, Penn. Native eventually transitioned to the UFC after the WEC was merged into the promotion and cut to 185 pounds where he had the greatest success of his career. Stann retired from the cage after his memorable and wild brawl with legendary Wanderlei Silva in March 2013 in Saitama, Japan, where “The Axe Murderer” came back to knock him out in the second round. He retired with a 12-6 pro MMA mark.
As a former collegiate football player at the Naval Academy, Stann used his football background to transition into a color commentator for Atlantic Coast Conference football, then eventually finding his way into the UFC booth subsequently. As a UFC analyst, Stann garnered nearly-unanimous praise for both his in-fight technical analysis and meticulous pre-fight research.
Stann's full Instagram statement follows below:
I am announcing my departure from calling fights w/ the UFC. I have been offered an amazing leadership role with a fast growing Real Estate Firm and will be attending Northwestern (Kellogg) for my executive MBA this fall. Thank you to everyone for years of support, especially the athletes and coaches whom I love deeply. I will continue to be a huge MMA supporter and attend many events. Thank you to everyone from FOX and Zuffa who helped me so much in this journey. @jon_anik you are my brother and that will never change, and I cannot tell you how important your friendship has been to me. My wife @teressa_stann who has endured so much and supported me through war, fighting, and now this transition, I love forever and thank you so much. This move is to focus more on my family. I traveled 26 weekends last year for work while also working a full time job. My new role as a COO will be very difficult but still afford me my weekends with my wife and 3 children. Transition and change are a part of life and I am really excited to prove my worth to my new company and hopefully showcase the diverse skills military veterans and mixed martial artists possess. Thank you all. - Brian