Being an HMB commentator is something a lot of people would love to do. It makes you the voice of the sport, and the connection between the tournaments and the audience watching the live stream; but above all, it’s great fun. You travel, you get to know the technicians, you find out the latest information about the teams, you prepare yourself to give the audience everything it needs…what could go wrong?
HMBIA News asked Gavin Stewart, our well-known and experienced commentator, to tell us all about some difficulties and challenging situations that he faces with commenting on HMB tournaments. Well, according to Gavin, despite all the above measures taken and hard work of the first-class specialists, unfortunately things can and do go wrong – here are a few examples.
Number 5: Repeating Yourself
All fights are different, but actions, moves, strikes are of the same variety; so too are the ways to describe them. As a commentator you don’t often notice that you are repeating yourself, but it is noticeable – badly. I don’t think I will ever live down the “massive takedown” phrase I repeated too many times at BotN 2016…
Number 4: Swearing
I’ve never once sworn or used offensive language in commentary (although I came close – see Number 2), and in this way I’ve tried to keep it professional. However, we invite guest fighters to the commentary box, and fighters are passionate…sometimes a little too passionate…sometimes the bad language just kinda…comes out!
Number 3: Tiredness
This might sound ridiculous as it’s the fighters who have the right to feel tiredness, all commentators do is sit there and talk! Well, believe it or not we get tired too, especially after the eighth hour of commentary in one day. BotN 2016 I was on my own for 5 days which was exhausting, and I’ll never forget BotN 2019 on the first day of constant 5vs5 fights for thirteen hours plus interviews. Problems such as getting names wrong, slower reactions, and worst of all, silent moments can really lower the audience energy.
Number 2: Eating
Picture this: you’re doing commentary and it’s going well, but you haven’t eaten anything for six hours. Food is delivered to the technicians and they all take a break to eat, while you’re sitting there watching them, smelling the food, and you’re starving. Then one technician sees your food and thinks it’s extra, so he takes it and starts to eat it…but you can’t react. You just have to carry on with the commentary, trying not to swear, and do your job until the next break in five hours. Yeah, that was 2017 for me. I still haven’t forgiven that technician…
Number 1: Technical Issues
Oh boy, this is a killer. HMB works with some of the best technicians around, and they are absolute professionals. But as with anything, tech problems can happen for seemingly no reason, so in the last three years despite the high quality of technicians, some things are out of their hands. In Italy the entire system burned out on the first day, in Spain the microphones caused all kinds of problems, and in Monaco at the first Buhurt Prime, despite what the technicians told me about the sound desk, the microphone did not turn off when I flicked the switch. A bottle of fizzy water later, and I started to receive messages from viewers…the entire audience heard me burp, thinking I had turned the microphone off, and I’ve never felt so embarrassed.
HMBIA News thanks Gavin Stewart for the selection and candor. And also look forward to hearing his comments on fights at major HMB tournaments and the HMB World Championship Battle of the Nations 2021.