What it was like covering one of the wildest nights in UFC history

The drama exploded proper subsequent to Megan Olivi.

Serving as the reporter for UFC 261, Olivi tried to intervene as her ESPN colleague and former UFC heavyweight and lightweight heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier bought right into a heated confrontation with YouTube star, novice boxer {and professional} provocateur Jake Paul.

“I was right next to it, and I was trying to stop him [Paul], like, ‘Come on dude, sit.’ But what am I going to do?” Olivi informed The Post, whereas discussing her new podcast, “Becoming A Fighter.”

“I was right next to him and I clearly had no physical abilities to stop it from happening,”

It was all half of a busy card on April 24 that additionally included Chris Weidman’s gruesome leg injury — a compound fracture of his right tibia and fibula — which he sustained simply 17 seconds into his combat in opposition to Uriah Hall.

“I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely in tears,” Olivi stated, noting that she couldn’t watch the replay.

The Paul-Cormier incident was not almost as grotesque, although it did present lots of headlines. Prior to the occasion, Paul and Cormier traded insults via social media and different media shops. After the confrontation, Cormier informed ESPN that issues didn’t escalate as a result of he didn’t need to get in hassle at work.

The viral moment occurred as Paul obtained boos and different lewd feedback from the UFC 261 crowd. Cormier, who was half of the broadcast, added whereas on-air that he “pointed at [Paul] and said ‘don’t play with me,’ because I’ll smack him in the face.”

Jake Paul and Daniel Cormier at UFC 261 on April 24, 2021
Jake Paul and Daniel Cormier at UFC 261 on April 24, 2021
Zuffa LLC

“[Paul] felt like it was necessary and who’s to say that if he feels disrespected he shouldn’t stand up for himself,” Olivi stated. “But, it was during a live broadcast, and [Cormier] is a pro, he did what he felt was necessary, and he came right back to the desk with his headset on. He was a complete professional.”

Olivi is incomes the similar fame. The solely girl on UFC’s pay-per-view broadcast, the 34-year-old has her palms in almost each facet of protection on combat evening — from serving to construct the present, to conducting interviews, offering evaluation and rather more. What viewers don’t see, are the behind-the-scenes moments, the place Olivi is working back-and-forth from the octagon to backstage press areas, in addition to stepping in when unplanned moments out of the blue come up.

Weidman’s harm occurred when he tried kicking Hall and the blow landed slightly below his opponent’s knee.

“To see that happen to anyone is absolutely horrific,” Olivi stated. “We know him rather well, his household, his spouse was in attendance. He had simply misplaced his father-in-law a number of weeks in the past, so we already know emotionally there was a lot on the plate.

“There is a risk when athletes step into the octagon, and we do everything so carefully to ensure safety, and this is a rarity, it’s certainly something we don’t see often.”

Olivi went on to notice that it was “difficult” to pivot again into the occasion as deliberate after seeing the “traumatic event” up-close-and-personal.

“I think all of us [on the broadcast] took quite a while to get back in gear. You don’t forget that you saw that,” she stated. “I saw our UFC staff doing the very best they could to make sure [Weidman’s] wife was there before he got in the ambulance and that he was getting the correct medicine he needed right away.”

Weidman, who’s been documenting his restoration on social media and YouTube, underwent profitable surgical procedure in Florida earlier than returning house to Fort Mill, South Carolina, the place he’ll proceed his rehab and restoration. In a post-surgery Instagram video, Weidman stated he has to stay off his ft for about eight weeks. As far as coaching is anxious, he stated docs predict he’ll be wholesome in six-to-12 months.

Olivi’s new podcast, “Becoming A Fighter,” goals to inform distinctive, private tales about fighters earlier than they grew to become recognized UFC athletes. Her newest episode options Leon Edwards, whose combat in opposition to Nate Diaz has been rescheduled for UFC 263 on June 12, in Glendale, Arizona.

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