CHICAGO – Should UFC mixed martial art (MMA) fighters use data analytics to improve their chances of winning matches? If you ask former UFC fighter turned broadcaster Brian Stann, the answer is an emphatic “Yes!”
Stann was on hand for the 2016 Sage Summit to promote the upcoming Invictus Games to be held in Toronto next year.
Stann was asked by Tech in Sports at the event if data analytics should be used in the UFC or any other MMA competitions.
Currently, Stann says, there’s not enough use of data analytics in the sport and few coaches are utilizing it.
“UFC fighters learn from each other. They are their own small business. There’s not enough use of data and very few coaches take the time to view the data that is there to break down opportunities for their fighter,” he said.
Stann cited examples such as, MMA fighters could use data analytics to see that their opponent tends to do 40 per cent of his or her striking in the first round. Or that 20 per cent of the time in the second round they tend to use grappling.
“We are behind in the use of data and I believe that gap can be made up by entrepreneurs as the sport grows. You need entrepreneurs that are at this conference to bring in solutions to help coaches training fighters to perform better.
During his career Stann was a Marine Corps captain. He was never injured during his military service. In his MMA career he captured the WEC light heavyweight championship in 2008 by beating Doug Marshall for the title. Fighting out of Scranton, Penn., Stann is a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a 3rd degree Black Belt in Marine Corps Martial Arts.
He is also recognized for three epic fights against chief rival Steve Cantwell. In the first two bouts both Stann and Cantwell won by knockouts. The third match was part of a UFC main event at Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 2009. It was promoted as the UFC Fight for the Troops show and it was going to be Stann’s UFC debut match.
The matches at Fort Bragg would be in front of several military personnel. Stann’s nickname is “All-American” and so the rubber match with Cantwell in front of partisan fans from the military was important to him. Unfortunately for Stann that match never took place because of an injury during training. He instead made his UFC debut at UFC 97 in Montreal.
He finally got his opportunity to fight Cantwell as part of the UFC under card in 2009 for the Nate Diaz vs. Melvin Guillard UFC Fight Night 19 show at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City.
In his decisive match against Cantwell, Stann went the distance for the first time in his career. It would go to the score cards where Stann claimed victory in a unanimous decision by the three judges.
Stann retired from the UFC in 2013 after winning his last match to spend more time with his family and join the UFC broadcasting crew.
In his UFC career Stann has a record of 18 matches, 12 wins, 6 losses, 9 wins via knockout, 1 win by submission and 2 wins by decision.