The years of being Daniel Cormier’s neighbor, Islam Makhachev’s “wife” and the “defenseless high schooler” in viral Khabib Nurmagomedov videos are really starting to pay off for Chase Saldate.
It certainly has been an interesting life thus far for Michigan State’s Saldate. Not many people can tell you what it’s like to win a California High School State Championship in wrestling. Not many people can tell you what it’s like to be in high school and be the focal point of a war of words between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
The life Saldate has lived is a 1 of 1 for sure. He’s had more viral moments with the biggest stars in the sport than some of the UFC roster, and he’s only in college.
Understandably so, Saldate saw a life of fighting for himself at one point, with his wrestling accolades and gym time with some of the most talented fighters of all-time, but the feeling is slowly wearing off. The desire to be on the UFC’s pound for pound list is fading away, but his love for MMA isn’t. His eagerness to get punched, kicked and bloodied may not be where it once was, but his love for enjoying the fights, pageantry and drama sure is.
In addition to practices, homework, classes and dual meets, Saldate has begun releasing IG reels with his brief commentary and takes on hot topics in the MMA world, and they’re opening his eyes to a possible dream career.
“Right now it’s just IG reels; it’s not a five, ten, fifteen minute video commentating over something long. It’s short and sweet,” Saldate said. “A lot of people will tweet out UFC news, so what I do instead of tweeting, I turn it into work. I consider this like an internship to myself, so if something ever came up, I would be ready to transition pretty well.”
Saldate knows jobs in commentary are unlikely without UFC experience, despite his favorite commentator, Jon Anik, clocking no Octagon time himself, but feels that his grasp on the sport has given him a leg up on most others trying to occupy the space.
If his natural leg up doesn’t land him a job at the commentary table, Saldate’s focus isn’t broken. He’s got his eyes set on a pretty fulfilling “backup plan” that stems from his current IG reels project.
“Perfect world for me would be I grow as far as the commentating went and I graduate with a degree in advertising and go on, build my fanbase up and have my own talk show or something. Maybe it’s on UFC FIGHT PASS – something stable where I have consistent viewers and I’m talking about MMA,” Saldate explained. “I think it could be me and somebody else, preferably, and I’m able to work from home or wherever they need me to be. If they need me to travel to an event, I can travel to an event and make a living off that.”
“Satellite” Saldate has already been “learning on the job” quite a bit. He’s found his groove and plans to continue to expand when the time comes, and has already learned how to be himself a little bit more than in his first few videos, a decision that has already begun to pay off.
“When I first started I was trying to be more even in these videos, but as I’ve started building more fans and growing it, I’ve been more open about what I have to say,” Saldate explained. “I think it makes me a better commentator and it attracts people to me and gets me more fans if I’m more truthful about how I feel about certain situations.”
In a sport that features no offseason and a constantly growing and morphing roster, it should be easy to find new topics constantly, but, at times, the MMA media can begin to resemble somewhat of an echo chamber. People stick to the outlets they know and don’t often venture off to find new personalities, but Saldate isn’t threatened at all by MMA fans being creatures of habit. As famous as current personalities and outlets are, they don’t quite have the experiences he has.
“What I have that other people don’t at the moment is that I’m an active college wrestler, and I think a lot of people want to hear my takes for that reason,” Saldate said. “Because of wrestling with Khabib and Islam and all that, people still want to hear what I have to say.”
For all the greatest action in mixed martial arts, sign up TODAY for UFC FIGHT PASS!