Today, I received my front row VIP seats to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). I am so excited. UFC is the largest MMA promotion company in the world. It features some of the highest-level fighters in the sport. The first event started back in 1993. The behind-the-scenes package also includes a meeting with host, model, author, and presenter Caroline Pearce. All I have to do is get on a plane and head west. Wait…wasn’t I just on a plane with the media?
When the plane landed, I was instructed to look for a sign. I giggled as I saw a chauffeur with my name on a piece of paper. It was like being in a John Hughes movie. After that, I was directed to a limo. Inside the limousine included many amenities for example a television, surround-sound systems and video game consoles. There was unlimited alcohol and bottles of water. Hmmmm…why not try out the video game console and a glass of water. As we approached the venue, I smiled.
I stepped out of the limo where I was immediately greeted by Caroline Pearce. Honestly, I was shocked as I am a big fan of the Gladiators franchise. I remembered her play the character of ‘Ice’ in Sky One’s version of Gladiators. But, I had to remind myself to remain professional. My brain went a mile a minute as I thought about how to start a conversation with sports host, model, published author, and presenter…Caroline Pearce. Don’t be starstruck, don’t be starstruck, don’t be starstruck.
To ease the tension, Caroline Pearce pointed to the Octagon and started talking about the structure. We walked towards the Octagon and I learned as Caroline explained the UFC cage. The octagonal structure has walls of metal chain-link fence coated with black vinyl. The standard octagon has a diameter of 30 ft (9.1 m) with a 6 ft (1.8 m) high fence. The cage sits atop a platform, raising it 4 ft (1.2 m) from the ground. It has foam padding around the top of the fence and between each of the eight sections. It also has two entry-exit gates opposite each other. I was mesmerized by this magnificent layout.
The next thing I heard was the door close. I looked at Caroline and she replied: “Rookie treatment. Good luck!” We both laughed but now I started to hear entrance music playing in the background. I thought to myself: “Oh no, not again.”
#cinqque5tion x 2 with Host, Model, Author, and Presenter Caroline Pearce
1. Can we discuss your time as a heptathlete and bobsledder for Great Britain?
Yes of course. I competed in heptathlon from age 17 (age 13 for pentathlon before that) winning National Championships and competing for Great Britain. The heptathlon is the 7 track and field disciplines that take place over 2 days and each event is scored. I loved the variety and camaraderie with the other athletes. At age 24, I tried out for the British Bobsled team and earned a place on Team Great Britain for the lead up to the World Championships. It was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life hurtling down the track at 80 miles per hour with 5G’s plus of force!
2. How do you physically and mentally prepare for a competition?
By making sure I put in the training and work hard. There are no short cuts… training, recovery and nutrition have to be on point. But just as important is the mindset and mental training. I would do a lot of mental rehearsal, especially during times of injury when my physical training was limited and more so on the day of competition, making sure I mentally addressed every scenario for every event in my head. I’d use visualization techniques in particular.
3. Let’s discuss the importance of good health. Do you have any fitness tips?
I have lots of fitness tips to share :). Check out my Instagram @carolinepearce where I provide tips daily! But if I were to provide just one here it would be ‘consistency’. Doing something to move every day will ensure long term results. I advise consistency over short intense bursts of fitness followed by an equal number of weeks of inactivity. Consistency is key with workouts and diet.
4. What sort of advice would you give about proper nutrition?
With so many ‘diets’ being discussed from Keto to Vegan to Intermittent Fasting, I would say just find what works for you long term. What way of eating can you sustain for the rest of your life? If the above is not sustainable then why put your body through a yo-yo approach to dieting. When in doubt eat ‘clean’ foods (naturally occurring and not packaged) with a balance of nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) 5-6 times per day. A simple DNA Fit style test will give you more detailed information on what foods your body does and doesn’t respond to but often we know this based on how our stomach, energy levels and mood alters after eating. Eat clean and eat intuitively whenever you can. This is my motto!
5. You are known as ‘Ice’ from the hit TV show ‘UK Gladiators’ on Sky 1. Any interesting stories from the show?
That show was so much fun and I can’t share all our secrets haha! But seriously we all got on really well. During and outside of filming and training we would all call each other by our Gladiator names. I even have everyone’s number saved in my phone under their Gladiator name. I can also tell you that Ian Wright, our show host, was desperate to try out the games! He’d stand there with his microphone itching to play on the rings and climb the wall! I think he wanted to be a Gladiator too!
6. You are currently the lead host for the Professional Fighters League (PFL) on ESPN presenting pre and post-fight shows, hosting the show and conducting in-cage post-fight interviews with fighters. Do you have any advice you would give to students about how to conduct interviews?
I’m loving the PFL and can’t wait until Season 3! Interviewing is my favorite part as I’m naturally inquisitive and love storytelling. My advice would be to do your homework. Know your subject really really well! In addition, when you ask questions make sure to actually listen to what your interviewee is saying! Sometimes they will open up subject areas the viewer would love to hear more about. Avoid just sticking to your questions and be fluid with the direction of the conversation. Ask open-ended questions that allow for longer answers and not just ‘yes’ or ’no’ answers and most of all be passionate about your job!
7. How do you prepare to host a show?
I research by watching tape and reading up on the latest news and fighter specific stories. This is hours of work that people don’t see. I’m a big notetaker and still like a traditional pen and paper style of note-taking. I’ll make long-form notes and then condense them into shorter notes and bullet point questions. Then it ’s about getting in a good mental space. Whilst getting ready and in rehearsals, I just get excited about the event, about my job and the chance to do what I love. I drink hot water with honey as the arena can often be very dry and cold and so not good for a lot of talking!
8. Can we discuss ‘UFC: Beyond the Octagon’ and just for fun, can you tell us about a favourite moment?
This show ended a couple of years ago. It was a studio show I hosted in the UK at BT Sport studios with Gareth A Davies. We would review and preview fights, have fighters come on as guests to interview and play some fun games! A fun moment was Conor McGregor coming on the show for the first time and talking live to Chad Mendes who was in Brazil getting ready to face Jose Aldo for the title. Chad asked Conor if he knew what wrestling was and Conor told Chad ‘I know how to rest my balls on your forehead’! This was hilarious and went viral!!
9. You are also a US correspondent. Can you discuss how that connection happened and the different networks you are working for?
I moved out to Los Angeles in February 2016 for different work opportunities and for sunshine! It was something I’d always wanted to do and since with BT Sport we were heading out to Vegas a lot more to cover the events live rather than doing our studio show it made sense. I became their US correspondence from that point onwards. Also at that time Fox Sports hired me to cover events for them. So I’d say Fighting combined with my fitness business gave me the opportunity to live and work Stateside. I now also work for PFL on ESPN which so far has all been in the US.
10. You traveled to India to host the first-ever World Cup of Kabaddi for Star Sports India. What can you tell us about the World Cup?
That was a very unique experience. I’d never been to India before or watched the sport of Kabaddi but both surprised and enchanted me in so many ways! India was eye-opening, beautiful and humbling. Everyone was so friendly and happy and the community is very passionate about their sports. Kabaddi is the second biggest sport in India I believe behind cricket. Millions tuned in to watch the World Cup and I had so much fun learning the sport and hosting the show, working with Indian stars as well as a truly international team. The sport is fast-paced, kind of a mix between wrestling and touch rugby, combined with breath-hold work!! Every time a player makes a ‘raid’ (run) they have to chant the word ‘Kabaddi’ under their breath continuously for 60 seconds! I’d encourage everyone to Google it and check it out!!