For the most part, Joe Rogan is easily one of the most recognizable UFC commentators. Renowned for his play-by-play commentary and dramatic reactions, he is one of the UFC’s longest-serving employees. However, there are a lot of things that the average fan may not know about Rogan and his work with the UFC.
In an episode of his podcast, Joe finally delved into the story of how he got into the UFC. In Episode #1237 of the JRE, Rogan was joined by stand-up comedian, Sebastian Maniscalco. As a fellow stand-up comedian, Sebastian was interested in how Rogan went on to become the voice of the UFC.
As it turns out, the UFC initially hired Rogan to do post-fight interviews in 1997. However, Rogan claims that he was losing money and so he quit after two years. Eventually, the UFC was purchased by Zuffa and Rogan was in conversation with Dana White quite often. Thus, the head honcho roped in the “Fear Factor” host for a commentary gig at UFC 37.5 in Las Vegas, NV.
Here, the former kickboxer adds a rather interesting detail as well. “I did like 12 of them for free. The UFC didn’t have any money, they were hemorrhaging money.” Thus, Rogan found a suitable solution to the problem. “I said look, just get me there, get me and my friend’s tickets and I’ll do it. So that’s how I operated for over a year”. As such, it only goes to show how far both Joe and the UFC have come over the years.
Joe Rogan reveals the only reason he will quit the UFC
As fans may have guessed, UFC President Dana White played a big role in getting Joe to commentate in the UFC. Throughout their conversations, Joe would often talk to Dana about upcoming talent or stars from other promotions around the world. Thus, Dana likely felt that someone as passionate as Joe was about the sport would make the perfect fit for a UFC commentator.
“It’s just Dana White. He’s a crazy man and he’s got a weird way of looking at things that’s very effective”. Further, Rogan added, “In his crazy mind he’s like, let’s take this guy who’s never even thought about being a commentator and make him our commentator”. Initially, Rogan admits that he had a difficult time commentating since he didn’t have any training on it whatsoever.
However, Rogan would develop a knack for describing the play-by-play of the fight and what the fighters were doing. Thus, it made Rogan one of the most sought-after UFC commentators, and all thanks to Dana White. As such, Rogan truly owes his success as a commentator to White. Interestingly, Rogan in Episode #1871 of his podcast stated, “If Dana (White) leaves, I’m gone. “That’s in my contract”.
In early 2023, there was a lot of talk about Dana White potentially resigning from the UFC after the New Year’s Eve slapping incident with his wife. Thus, it would also mean the departure of Joe from the organization. But, the matter blew over and Dana was back running things with Rogan in the commentary booth. Despite not loving everything that Dana does, it appears as though Rogan is loyal to the bone to the UFC president.