Brian Stann is one of the most respected figures to ever compete in the UFC. A former marine who was awarded the Silver Star, Stann also won the WEC light heavyweight championship before joining the UFC in 2009.
Inside the UFC, Stann amassed a 6-4 record, competing against the best fighters of the day before retiring from competition in 2013. After retirement, he moved into the commentary booth for the UFC, serving as one of their primary color commentators and analysts, and earning universal acclaim for his work in the booth. Ultimately, he left that role in 2017 to pursue other interests, and having managed a successful career in MMA, and afterward, he has some words of advice to all the young fighters just beginning their MMA careers.
“There’s four things I would tell them,” Stann said on The MMA Hour. “Number one is save your money. Look, it’s not gonna last forever. One catastrophic injury and you could spend a whole year without making any money. Save your money.
“Number two, you have to very carefully manage your brand. You cannot afford to be out with some friends, have a couple of drinks, and start firing off social media posts. We live in a world where information goes quickly and your brand could be considerably damaged because something you say is misconstrued or taken out of context, and you could get really crushed by the media and fans. You just can’t afford that in this sport.
“The third thing I would tell them is do not leave your chin in the gym. Back in my day, we sparred so hard and trained so hard, we left years of our career in the gym and we weren’t getting paid. We over-spar in this sport, we beat up our bodies too much in this sport. We need to look at it through a longevity lens. How do you arrive to your fight in the best condition, with the freshest ability to take damage. Because as good of a fighter as you want to be, if you start getting knocked out — look at Luke Rockhold. He’s as skilled as any fighter out there, but all of a sudden, someone who is worse than him can clip him and win a fight. So he’s probably taken some time off to rejuvenate, recoup. You’ve got to be careful how you train.
“The fourth thing is have a hobby. Know there’s a lot of downtime in fighting, and I think fighters need to understand they’re only gonna spend a very short window of their life doing this. What are you gonna do next? And don’t be afraid to invest in that. Whether it’s going and finishing your degree, getting a graduate degree, going and learning an additional skill, investing in a business or doing something else, you will have to do something else for a living when this is over. Do not be afraid to invest some time in that. It could be healthy for you. It could take some pressure off you during your fight career, just mentally. You’ve got to be prepared and start putting in some time for what’s next.”
Stann retired from MMA with an overall career record of 12-6. He is currently the President and CEO of Hunt Military Communities, a privatized military housing company that services over 120,000 military residents and families.