It’s been a few weeks since Burt Watson, affectionately known as ‘babysitter to the stars’ parted ways with the UFC. A living legend and it’s true to say that it’ll be hard to find anyone in the industry who has nothing but praise for one of the most energetic, enthusiastic and positive individuals who ensured that the logistics of fight week went off without a hitch.
We reached out to Burt Watson, a friend to #WHOATV since our first UFC credentialled event in 2010. I was curious to find out what he’d been up to and how he’d been keeping active since leaving the promotion. “All my time has been spent with personal family issues that have been existing over the past two years. I have four adult children, my Mom, my wife of over thirty years and five grandchildren who have all travelled this journey with me through my days with “Smokin” Joe Frazier until now. My oldest grandson is a Freshman at Yale University, one is into Martial Arts at Tiger Shulman and the rest are all athletically active. Got a lot of make up time baby…”
Burt’s departure seemed sudden to most but one question I was keen to get to the bottom of was whether his sudden departure was a series of events capped off by the straw that broke the proverbial camels back. Burt was keen to set the record straight regarding his sudden departure. “Over my 14 year run with the UFC and Dana White, I’ve never had any incidents happen that would have suggested my sudden departure or early retirement. I was having noting but fun baby. I was teaching and learning at the same time. This incident caught me off guard and was totally unnecessary. But isn’t that usually how things happen?”
I was keen to press the subject a little deeper as Burt has been guarded on the exact minutia of the incident that caught him off guard but with what can only be described as a dismissal of Mike Mersch I wondered whether this was the UFC official Burt had alluded to in previous interviews. “I don’t know or am not sure what happen to Mike Mersch but I do know that there is a reason he is no longer there and it wasn’t his decision.”
Burt is still a spritely man with enough energetic flair that will undoubtably mean his services will be called upon now he is a free agent. After so many years in the UFC I wondered whether he had been contacted by promotions who would be keen to enlist his services.”I have been contacted to make appearances as a special guest, meet and greets, but not as a coordinator or consultant with that ‘Special Skill’. But I will tell you that if a Promoter contacts me and has a need for my skills, I’d listen. I love teaching young people about life, professionalism and keeping the lights on when the lights get brighter. Working for another promoter would have to be their decision and there would probably have to be a need for my skills and services. I’d listen to anyone interested. I’ve done Boxing, theatre, plays, I did the 2008 Latin Grammy Awards, MMA so on. I’m here Baby. I’m sure there will be other organisations looking to start and might need some help.”
Burt is certainly someone who has seen a whole host of things during his time involved with MMA. I was intrigued by what Burt had to say about his legacy.”Backstage, I’ve worked with some of the “baddest” men and women in the world. And had to tell them what to do, Marine Corp style. I’ve never ever had a problem having them listen to me, working within my system or getting our job done. I had a way with them that made it easy for them, gave them a comfort level and an assurance that I knew what I was doing. I’m glad I left behind the fact that somebody understood and really cared about them. I did it on the real tip baby I think the greatest testimony to my legacy is that, I’m pretty sure I was one of the creators of the system. I was definitely the creator of my system for others and that worked for 14 years. I worked hard through the fast pace growth of MMA. It had to be right….It worked baby!”