A sit down with Megan Olivi: The journey of a sports broadcaster

Megan Olivi has a special spot in the world of sports broadcasting. Now a household name for fans of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), she is the product of a journey fueled by determination and what some might even call destiny. 

With Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) making waves in the sports community through the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Olivi can be seen cage-side every Saturday night giving the rundown of each piece of a pay-per-view event.  

She hosts pre and post-fight interviews, “UFC Connected,” “UFC Ultimate Insider,” “The Exchange with Megan Olivi” and “Becoming a Fighter,” all while leading the Saturday night broadcast. 

“If you have the ability to try, it is your duty to try your hardest in whatever it is,” Olivi said. “For me, it is not an egotistical thing; it is up to me to do the best I can with the gifts I possess.” 

Olivi grew up with a family immersed in competitive athletics. Her grandfather was a champion boxer whose brother also boxed professionally. They introduced Olivi to the world of combat sports. The time she spent as a kid wrestling with her siblings, watching football with her father, attending Yankees games and interning at Fox all paid off.  

When asked about how her family views her career, Megan said they find it unbelievable. From her parents and siblings to her husband, her support system plays a pivotal role in her career.  

Olivi’s upbringing in sports sparked a passion in her that the production crew at Fox recognized and decided to fuel. The chance to be put on their online show set the course for the rest of her career, showing her that it is possible to talk about sports and get paid.  

Leaving New York, Olivi took a gamble and moved to Las Vegas, where everything began to fall into place. While starting her on-camera career with the company Heavy, the UFC became more popular and bought out competitor World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC). Her husband Joseph (Joe) Benevidez, then a UFC flyweight, signed with that group.  

“I think everyone knew the WEC was a goldmine for talent and fight action,” Olivi said. “It was very important for me to know that Joe was going to be getting his flowers where they were deserved — paychecks, and things like that, which are important to him.” 

Olivi’s career with the UFC has blossomed into a standard of how broadcasting should be executed. She has traveled the world.    

“Burnout, in terms of motivation, does not exist when so many people are depending on you every week,” Olivi said. “The physical difficulty of the different continents and time zones can affect you, but you still make sure you are giving 110 percent all the time.” 

Although the MMA community can be uplifting and supportive, there is a darker side to the sport that can take a toll on the mental health of not only the fighters but the media team as well, she adds.  

“I feel that the high standard I hold myself to goes a long way in terms of rumors online and what people have to say,” Olivi said. “The rest of it is toxic, and we have all taken a visible step back for the sake of our mental health. “

Fighters have given us iconic moments on the microphone for years and Olivi is often the person holding said microphone. Her priority as an interviewer is to make sure they feel comfortable enough to share anything they may feel.  

A majority of these unforgettable microphone moments come from historic UFC rivalries. Current heavyweight champion Jon Jones and hall-of-famer Daniel Cormier shared a rivalry that left a permanent stamp on the sport. When analyzing the close friendship between Cormier and herself, Olivi walks us through how she navigates instances where people close to her are at odds with the subject of her interview.  

“It is my responsibility to make sure that the ball is always in their court if they want to bring something up and be funny regarding any situation,” Olivi said. “No matter what, I . . . give everyone their fair shake.” 

Being a witness to the most important moments in MMA history makes her position seem overwhelming, so she tries to stay as present as possible.  

 “I reflect on my career with gratitude,” Olivi said. “I lead the charge by asking myself how I can best serve the team and this organization of fighters. I have so much gratitude for the team that had a vision and took chances with experimental things that we tried in the broadcast and are now second nature.”

Aaliyah Whitney is a junior majoring in Broadcast Journalism on a pre-law track. After her studies, she will pursue a career as the official broadcaster for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.