Caroline Pearce has been covering MMA since 2013, mainly for BT Sport where she presented their Beyond the Octagon show and is a former international athlete.
MMAUK: Can you give us a brief history of your career prior to the BT Sport/UFC days?
Caroline: My first major television work prior to BT Sport was the revival of the hit TV show ‘Gladiators’ where I played the character ‘Ice’. I’d been a fan of the original series growing up so it was a dream to be a part of it. From there I ventured into sports reporting and presenting covering the World’s Strongest Man for Channel 5 and working with Eurosport. I launched my own online show called ‘The Truth: Athlete Insights’ and with my background as an athlete and sports scientist made several appearances as a fitness expert on tv. I work heavily in the health and fitness industry to this day and have a published book called ‘Better Body Workouts for Women’ and a fitness DVD and fitness app called ‘Total Body Collection’ on Amazon.
MMAUK: What was the process into you getting the BT Sport gig and covering the UFC and did you have any MMA interest or knowledge prior?
Caroline: Prior to BT Sport launching, myself and my agent were in talks with them about me potentially presenting the Moto GP. But instead they asked me to cover UFC. My knowledge at that time was limited but I love a challenge, I said yes and then spent a lot of time watching and learning. But it’s only through truly becoming a fan myself and being at all the major events that I felt I started to do the sport justice with my line of questioning and reporting. Now it is easy as it’s a passion as well as a job.
MMAUK: The last time we spoke it was before Ronda fought Amanda Nunes, were you shocked at how she performed?
Caroline: Not shocked as Amanda is an incredibly powerful fighter that has the ability to put anyone to sleep. Of course it would have been great to see Ronda have an amazing comeback but nobody can take away what she has done for the sport.
MMAUK: What do you think contributed to her demise?
Caroline: She lost two fights after being so dominant and will remain a legend. But there are always going to be girls coming through looking to dethrone the champion and the target was on her back. Nobody is unbeatable. But there has been talk of the media obligations and pressure, talk of the danger of thinking your indestructible or even loss of hunger, but only Ronda will know. Sometimes it’s just tough luck. I’m excited to see her on the WWE scene!
MMAUK: You recently did a Q&A in Glasgow with Conor McGregor, how was that?
Caroline: It was awesome. It’s such a different energy hosting in front of a live audience compared to in front of camera. It was Conor’s first interview since those he did immediately following the Mayweather fight and he was on great form, entertaining whilst also being very candid about the whole experience. It struck me how much the Mayweather loss bothered him after many thought having made the amount of money he did it wouldn’t matter. But he’s a true competitor and always wants to win.
MMAUK: Do you see a change in Conor since you first met him. Even his team have made comments about he’s not in the gym has often and he’s not as obsessed as he once was?
Caroline: It would be impossible not to change somewhat when you have that amount of money. But he’s still a guy that loves to fight, loves to win and who is incredibly loyal to those close to him. But perhaps his motivations have changed. Why would he want to get hit in the head multiple times again when he doesn’t need to. We’ll soon see.
MMAUK: I feel the hunger has gone, and it’s similar to Ronda, where other commitments are now getting in the way, plus the money of course he got from the Mayweather fight. MMA is not a sport you can do part time.
Caroline: Yes as I said above.
MMAUK: My biggest concern in the sport is weight cutting. You come from a nutritional background, do you think fighters cut weight in the wrong way or simply are just in the wrong weight division?
Caroline: It is concerning especially with what just happened to my good friend Uriah Hall prior to his scheduled fight with Vitor Belfort. The earlier weigh ins have perhaps helped but I personally think a fighter should have to be a certain number of pounds (less then say 8lb) over their fight weight at the start of fight week so that they’re gradually dieted closer to their fight weight rather than rely on dehydration alone the night before. Some fighters may be ill-advised and likewise some are in the wrong weight division.
MMAUK: Going forward how much do you think you will still be involved in MMA and what other things are you planning career wise
Caroline: I plan to stay involved in MMA long term. I love my job and the sport. I always have other projects running alongside my reporting so no two days or weeks are the same. I do a lot of content creation for fitness brands, I am a master trainer for Power Plate (the vibration training machine), I travel to Sydney four times per year for a fitness tv show and later this year I start a new role on NBC Sports Network here in the US which I’m excited about.
MMAUK: Have you got a favourite fight and favourite MMA moment?
Caroline: My favourite fight is still the Jones vs Gustaffson war! It was early in my career in UFC and that fight just made me have so much respect for the fighters as warriors and athletes. As for MMA moment – watching Conor lift 2 belts in the air after his win over Eddie Alvarez in New York was history and a great moment as a British and European fan.
MMAUK: What do you like best about MMA?
Caroline: The pure athleticism of what the sport is all about.
MMAUK: What one thing would you change in MMA?
Caroline: Add more weight classes to help those who don’t naturally fit into the existing categories.
Quick Fire Questions
Your Biggest Weakness: Over analysing.
Your Biggest Strength: Determination
Your Biggest Regret: None
One word that best describes you: Perfectionist
Favourite Film: The Bourne series
Favourite Book: The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
Favourite TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
TV Hell: TOWIE, Made in Chelsea etc.
Which Reality TV Show Would You Go On: Strictly Come Dancing.
The Thing you are most proud of: Competing for my country in athletics.
MMAUK: Thank you so much for your time in doing the interview, and good luck for the future and hopefully we will see you covering MMA for a long time to come