Laura Sanko Makes Her UFC Commentary Debut
Plans to eventually call a PPV event
Laura Sanko is about to write a new page in the history of modern Mixed Martial Arts by becoming the first-ever female who will be on the commentary team at UFC Fight Night.
Being a commentator might sound like something new for Laura, but her experience includes years of being in the MMA industry, and surely she will be able to handle the new challenges easily.
“I’m obsessed with watching film and seeing if I can dissect patterns and see how people set up various submissions, or preferred way of entering the pocket, as well as storylines,” Sanko told MMA Fighting on Monday after the UFC announced her promotion. “My biggest coping mechanism is just to do more and study more.”
As a seasoned reporter, Sanko was mid-way through her latest UFC project when she received a game-changing call from producer Zach Candito. She was chosen as the third voice in the broadcast booth, a well-deserved recognition given her successful commentary of the Road to UFC tournament alongside veteran UFC commentator John Gooden.
This monumental moment in her career and the UFC promotion marks 7 years of hard work, starting from her backstage reporting at a UFC on FOX event.
Congrats @laura_sanko – first woman in the UFC’s modern era to commentate a UFC event, and only the second woman ever – this weekend at #UFCVegas68. Huge admiration for your determination, hard work and talent. Beyond deserved… Go get em 💙👊 pic.twitter.com/M7ZtLvWLVr
— Caroline Pearce (@CarolinePearce) January 31, 2023
“I have a hard time articulating this, because it sounds like I’m being dramatic, I guess, but I love MMA so much because it very much saved my life in several different instances and in a variety of ways that I don’t have the time to go into” she said.
“And so when I stopped fighting because I got pregnant and because there really was no goal for me as a fighter because there was no atomweight division in the UFC, it was super important for me to stay close to the sport, and the ultimate thing I think I wanted to do, and [like] for any athlete, the ultimate thing was to leave a little mark on the history books of the sport we all love so much.”
“So to be able to have that teeny, tiny little fingerprint, it makes me tear up, because it’s super meaningful. Records are amazing, but records can be broken, and there can only be one first. And that’s Kathy Long.”
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous” she said. “I want to obviously make a good impression. But that’s what I keep telling myself. I’m going to be at the APEX. I’ve called plenty of shows. I’m going to be with Michael Bisping and John Gooden. I’ve called lots of shows with Mike, and John and I did the entire Road to the UFC tournament, just the two of us. It really isn’t necessarily all that new.
“I feel the responsibility of the new, more elevated role, and I think commentary in general is a big responsibility, because at the end of the day, you are trying to connect the fighting art, that an athlete has poured their heart and soul into, to an audience that can’t see or feel or touch it in real time, and you’re the conduit to connect that art with the people at home, which sounds a little bit high and mighty, but it’s a big responsibility, and I take it really seriously.
“And, I’m incredibly honored to be able to be in a position to do that for the men and women on the UFC roster.”
Sanko’s aspirations as a commentator reach for the stars as she sets her sights on calling a pay-per-view event. The roster of commentators for major UFC events has undergone a shift in recent years, featuring accomplished colleagues such as Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, Michael Bisping, Dominick Cruz, and Paul Felder alongside the long-standing presence of veteran commentator Joe Rogan.
Despite the distance to reach this level, Sanko is confident in her ability to become one of the main comments for the UFC events.