First, Molly thanks for taking the time to do this interview… You are a really busy woman. Hosting segments, doing interviews and basically running around here, there and everywhere with ESPN. How did you get started with the network? And if you could tell us a little about Molly Qerim in case some people haven’t heard of you yet?
Molly Qerim: Of course! During college I had interned at ESPN. After I graduated UCONN I was made aware that ESPN was launching a new product called ESPN mobile and that they were looking for young talent to broadcast on to mobile phones. The group I had interned with thought I’d be a good fit. So I auditioned, it worked out and here I am!
I am an on-camera host/reporter broadcasting to ESPN.com and ESPN Mobile video platforms. In addition to the mainstream sports I cover fantasy sports and Mixed Martial Arts, working on MMA Live and Fantasy Football Now. I also interview all the guests that come to Bristol and cover sporting events for the site, the Super Bowl, All Star games and more.
Most of my readers, myself included first really got to know you on MMA Live, how big are you into MMA and is that a role you were put in to, or something you pushed for? Watching your segments, you always seem to be having a lot of fun. And how many girls growing up ended up with black eyes and bloody noses messing with you? Or were you on the side doing the play by play of all the fights?
Molly Qerim: I don’t miss a fight. I watch every pay-per view and try to see as many in person as I can. The energy in the arenas is amazing. I did push to be a part of MMA Live and I hope to continue to cover the sport. It’s truly amazing how quickly the sport is growing worldwide. This show has given us the platform to cover mixed martial arts from a news and information perspective, just as any other mainstream sport is.
Everyone involved in the show is great, we have so much fun together. As for the fighting, I am not a fighter. I’ve always been the peacemaker. But I do a lot of boxing with my trainer, so I guess I do beat up on D’Mario, or at least try to. I grew up playing tennis. But with that said, never mess with my family or someone who doesn’t deserve it. I’ll be the first person to standup. I was always championing the underdog in school. My teachers called me Mother Teresa.
Anyone that follows your twitter page, @mollyqerim_espn would know your loyalty to your Huskies and Celtics. What do you think the realistic odds are that either wins a championship this season? And as an extra question… How many techs do you think Rasheed is going for this season?
Molly Qerim: Don’t forget the Giants. I’m a big Giants fan too! People from Connecticut are either New York or Boston fans. Blame my father for my teams Giants, Celtics, UCONN.
So yes, I’m a huge Huskies fan. My family has always had season tickets to football and basketball. And obviously I went there too. As for championships, last year was UCONN’s year to win it all (in hoops). It was heartbreaking when Jerome Dyson got injured, that really hurt us. Now our Quarterback Zach Frazer is hurt.
As for the Celtics, definitely, they’re the favorite in the east. I think Rasheed will have the fewest of his career, ten.
Let me switch gears for a second and talk about social media. Molly how do you feel about social media, i.e. twitter, facebook, etc… is changing the way not only news is reported, but allowing for the constant interaction between fans and celebrities and bringing the two worlds to much more interactive stage? And were you into all that before ESPN or did you start specifically for the network?
Molly Qerim: I created a Twitter account because of work and was hesitant to do so at first. I’ve always been a private person. But I have to say Twitter has been beneficial in terms of keeping in contact with people, interacting with sports fans and it’s an easy way to get information fast. I follow a bunch of the reporters here like Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen plus MMA sites — it keeps you in the know. I like to be aware of what’s going on in the world. Plus it’s fun, someone is always cracking jokes.
Back to MMA, if you had to pick the top 5… UFC, WEC, Strikeforce… all brands and affiliations, who would you say are the 5 pound for pound best interviews and talkers in the business? And who is your favorite MMA star to interview and why?
Molly Qerim: I honestly don’t have a favorite. Top 5 pound for pound that’s tough. Anderson Silva because no one can beat him. GSP, he ups his game in every fight. BJ Penn, when push comes to shove no one can beat him at 155. Lyoto Machida, he might be even better than Anderson Silva. Gegard Mousasi, he’s faced fighters in weight classes two times above him and has been successful.
Being a woman in the sports world, I’m sure it has its advantages and disadvantages. What are some of the pro’s and con’s of tackling the sports world head on as a woman? Seems you always know a lot about what you are speaking on and have a real passion for sports. So does being attractive and melting our hearts help get you further or hurt while you are trying be respected in a male oriented business? And I know this is a long question, but who are some of your role models and influences in the business?
Molly Qerim: I don’t think about any of that. The only thing I’m concerned with is being respected as a journalist and continuing to grow professionally. I just want to keep getting better. The only way I accomplish that is through hard work and preparation. I have tremendous respect for Robin Roberts both personally and professionally, so her.
This is going to be a bad pun, so I apologize in advance… But what does Molly Qerim look for in a guy who she wants to climb in the cage with? What attracts you to a guy?
Molly Qerim: Ask me that in a couple years. I do hope to have a big family, I love kids. But there is so much I want to accomplish on my own first. I have so many career goals. Now is my time to grind.
What’s next for Molly Qerim? ESPN anchor on SportsCenter? ABC News? Are you going to stay in sports or expand to cover the globe? Any other dreams you have that you want to accomplish both in your business or outside of it?
Molly Qerim: I hope to stay in sports and continue to grow as an anchor/reporter for ESPN. I’d also like to have my own foundation someday supporting women and children. There are a lot of causes I’m passionate about. Being in media provides you with a platform and I plan on taking advantage of that. I’d like to advocate for the people that can’t advocate for themselves. That’s just as important to me as my personal career goals.
Now that Fedor has signed with Strikeforce eliminating the biggest fight people wanted to see, and Rampage postponed his fight with Rashad, what other big fights are you looking forward to and what would be your dream fight you would want to see?
Molly Qerim: I’m still looking forward to Rashad and Rampage. Also Shane Carwin and Brock Lesnar.
Last question. Gina Carano said in a Maxim interview her first kiss was in the horse corrals, when was yours and how was it? And after the success of Carano Vs Cyborg do you think women’s MMA can be a mainstream attraction?
Molly Qerim: That’s funny. MMA is growing rapidly, women included. Gina and Cyborg are pioneers in the sport and have opened the doors for other female fighters who are less known, but just as talented as their male counterparts.
I know you are into fantasy sports, who is your biggest sleeper in fantasy football this year and why? I need to win this year!
Molly Qerim: Yes, I’m in 3 leagues. If you want to win you better be watching Fantasy Football Now every Sunday on ESPN.com from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. ET — that’s how you’ll dominate! A sleeper I like is Joe Flacco. I don’t think his week one numbers were a fluke.