UFC host and reporter Megan Olivi is occasionally put in the rather peculiar position of having to interview her own husband, UFC flyweight Joseph Benavidez, after he fights.
While Olivi is used to this part of the job, she admits there is one particular situation she’d rather avoid.
“I’ve worked almost every single one of his fights, wins and losses,” Olivi told MMAjunkie Radio. “It’s never, to me, something I even think about. I’m going to be there, regardless. And, no matter what, when he fights, the only thing I don’t like is people watching me watch him.
“When I’m backstage, doing my job for the broadcast, most of the time there’s only a producer with me anyway, so people might be passing by but nobody’s – it’s not like there’s fans around or anything. So as long as no one’s watching me watch him, I’m fine either way.”
While it’s never been an impediment to her job, Olivi says that she, understandably, gets emotional watching her husband compete. And, considering they’ve both got tasks to fulfill come fight night, it’s in everyone’s best interests that the roles of wife and reporter are kept separate.
“With my job, it’s kind of frowned upon a little bit that people would tie the two of us together in that emotional capacity,” Olivi said. “No matter what, I can always do my job, he can always do his. So I just think the more we kind of separate – because I am a psycho when he fights. I lose my mind.
“I watch fights for a living. I know what’s going on. I know why fighters are doing things. When he fights, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, what’s happening?’ I don’t need people seeing that – no one needs anyone to see that – so we just kind of keep it hidden.”
When two-time title challenger Benavidez (25-4 MMA, 13-2 UFC) steps onto the octagon next, at June 11’s UFC Fight Night 110 in New Zealand, an off-duty Olivi will only be there as his wife and supporter. And she anticipates she’ll be backstage – not in the audience – during his scrap against Ben Nguyen (17-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC).
“I see him before he walks out, he gives me a little wave, and then when he comes back I’m the first person he sees,” Olivi said. “And that’s good enough for us.”
Olivi says, in general, she’d rather be alone whenever her husband is in the octagon. And while Benavidez has rarely been cause for concern as far as outcomes go – after all, he’s only lost two UFC scraps to date – Olivi would rather pass up on stressful feeling of losing “years off her life” whenever he’s up there.
“My heart just beats like crazy no matter what,” Olivi said
Which is why, as long as she doesn’t have to do in-depth interviews for FOX with him about it afterward, she has no problem skipping on watching the whole thing live.
“His last fight, I stood in the kitchen of the Palms,” Olivi said. “I took the elevator, and I just pressed a button and I ended up at the kitchen, and I said ‘Listen, my husband’s fighting. I don’t want to watch it.’ Because I wasn’t working, and they were like, ‘OK.’ So I put a timer on my phone for 17 minutes, because of the minutes between rounds, and when it was over I took the elevator down and the fight was over.”
In exchange for the inevitable nerves that come with Benavidez’s particular line of work, though, Olivi said she does benefit by getting to witness the joy of his wins.
“It’s awesome,” Olivi said. “It’s great because it’s a relief for me, but just to see his hard work pay off, that’s really what the win is. There’s nothing anyone can do to help him in there, and you see how much they sacrifice and give up – how much they want it and, in your mind, deserve it.
“So when you see that victory, and that accomplishment finally happening, you feel like, ‘OK, he’s finally getting what is owed to him because of all the things he’s done in the past few months.’”
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