Jon Anik is a man of the people, but some of the people are grating on his nerves.
On an episode of the Anik and Florian Podcast, the popular UFC play-by-play man spoke about the backlash he received on social media after scoring this past Saturday’s UFC 297 main event in favor of Dricus du Plessis. After 25 minutes of closely fought action, du Plessis defeated champion Sean Strickland by split decision to claim the UFC middleweight title.
An exasperated Anik explained why the most toxic portion of the MMA fan base has him considering a change in careers.
“I am growing tired of this MMA space a little bit, and just the morass of negativity when there is a close fight, because even if you and I both thought Dricus du Plessis won the fight, we try to present that information respectfully,” Anik said. “When I go on to X, or when I go to our YouTube comments, it seems like a lot of these fans are just in attack mode. I don’t know if these fans are casual fans or not, but I appreciate the passion, but I’m getting to a point where at 45 years of age where I don’t know how much time I have left in this MMA space, because if I go do pro football, like, I’m not necessarily going to be dealing with this lowest common denominator all the time.
“I don’t know, I just feel like there’s a lot of malice and disrespect from the fan base. We can disagree, don’t take it from me, Demetrious Johnson and Kenny Florian thought ‘DDP’ won the fight. I’ve just been very off put with the negativity that has permeated my feed since Saturday night, and I’m just not sure how much longer I have in this space, honestly.”
The conflict is especially frustrating for Anik, who prides himself on interacting with fans as much as possible. Since debuting as a commentator for the UFC in January 2012, Anik has arguably become the voice of the promotion and one of the most popular members of the broadcast team.
However, when it comes to the fans, Anik doesn’t plan to waste time with some of them – especially if they’re only interested in hurling insults.
“I try to be accessible and engage with fans, especially on X, and some of my broadcast partners—Joe Rogan chief among them—their profile is so high, and they are so famous that they can’t possibly engage with the fans on a regular basis,” Anik said. “Even somebody like Daniel Cormier. So you’ve got to post and ghost a little bit. But for me, I try to be that accessible conduit for the fans, and what I’m finding is that 90 percent of what I am sifting through is negative, and a lot of those comments are said in an antagonistic, attacking type of way. I’ve got three kids and just better things to do with my time.
“But again, I’m trying to be accessible, especially after a fight like this, I want to be able to engage, but when I see the venom that some people are coming at us with, it just makes me disengage. So I guess maybe my thesis statement should be if you see me disengage and not be as omnipresent and as accessible on X, it’s because the fan base is starting to turn me off. [ESPN reporter] Marc Raimondi had a very thoughtful post about this on Instagram, this sport is getting worse by the minute in terms of all the negativity in the air.”
Anik said that he’s been advised to just ignore the comments, but considering that much of his job is relaying accurate information to the MMA viewership, both through his on-air UFC duties and his podcast, he’s having trouble biting his tongue.
The irritation has pushed Anik to the point that he openly wondered if he will continue in his current role for more than another couple of years.
“A lot of fans are suggesting to me to not even engage with these people, but gosh, how many comments have we heard about ‘To be the champion, you’ve got to beat the champion?’” Anik said. “So I would throw it back to you fans who think that Kenny and I are not understanding what you’re saying, or are dismissive of what you are saying. So are you folks suggesting that for a judge like Sal D’Amato in a close round, say Round 3, he should give it to Strickland because he’s the champion? Because if that’s what you are suggesting, that is absolutely inane. And take it from [Severe MMA reporter] Seán Sheehan, when the fight starts, neither man is the champion, and that’s the way you need to judge the fight.
“But those of you suggesting that there’s any bias, or you don’t like me, well, you’ll probably get your f****** wish come 2026 because honestly, at this point, I’ve had it.”