There is a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the package of UFC broadcasts.
In many ways, it has filled the void left by a slight decline in the boxing world, using it’s shorter fight times to create a crisp product and hype the sport of MMA as the most exciting in the world.
One figure who is central to this overall package and it’s success is color commentator, Joe Rogan.
Rogan has been with the company for 19 years and has become a true staple of UFC broadcasts. After some turbulent years, in which the promotion experimented with a variety of combinations, he and Mike Goldberg have formed a perfect tandem. The UFC would be a much sadder place without the charismatic 48-year-old and his famous yelps. Knockouts just aren’t the same unless you hear that famous “Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” before Rogan composes himself for some top notch commentary.
Previously, Rogan had stated that if the UFC was sold, he would “100 percent” leave the company upon the expiration of his contract. He is highly successful in his own right as a stand up comedian and his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” has become essential viewing/listening, whether he conducts long form interviews or watches MMA cards contemporaneously. Thus, he does not rely upon his income from the commentary gig.
However, fight fans will be happy to hear that Rogan has had a change of heart.
He used the latest edition of his podcast, alongside Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens (#8 UFC Featherweight in the world), to announce that, in spite of the recent sale, he had decided to sign a new one-year contract with the UFC.
Rogan is back on a reduced schedule though and he will not travel to international events. Therefore, we can expect to see other announcers fill the gap on Fox Sports cards and those that take place outside the United States.
“I signed for at least one more year. I was on the fence man, I just do too much sh*t. I’m too fucking busy. I don’t know if I’m doing myself or all the other things I do a disservice,”
“I had a conversation with Dana, we had a bunch of conversations. What I decided to do was no more international travel. No more flying across the planet.”
“If I go to Brazil that’s five days out of my life (…) and on top of that there is the recovery time. The flying f**ks with my head. I’m cutting down a lot of events, but I’m doing at-least one more year. It’s a year by year thing.”
“I was really convinced it was over. But (UFC 196 – Diaz v McGregor I) that night was so crazy and so chaotic. I walked out of there like, ‘How can I not do this? I’m sitting right there cage side for the craziest sh*t in the sporting world ever!'”
“I don’t want anybody to think that I don’t appreciate it or I don’t know how lucky I am or I don’t think it’s an amazing job. I definitely do. But I’m almost too lucky. I have too many amazing jobs.”
While the UFC has other names who could take up the mantle, like Dan Hardy, Kenny Florian, Brian Stann and perhaps even Chael Sonnen, none of them hold a candle to the man that has become a UFC institution.