Joe Rogan and his use of the “R-Word”
The main event of UFC 169 had its fair share of controversy, particularly with what many believed to be an early stoppage by Herb Dean. However, the oddness did not end there. During the post-fight interview with Urjiah Faber, long-time commentator Joe Rogan suggested that Chad Mendes could have the next shot at the Bantamweight title. When Faber pointed out that Mendes was in a different weight class, Joe Rogan responded with “Oh that’s right, I’m retarded.”
Rogan’s choice of words have sparked a tiny amount of controversy. But is it really that big of a deal? Using the word “retarded” in the way he did was obviously not the ideal thing to say. He’s a professional commentator for a billion-dollar sporting organization that was broadcasting on national television. It’s very possible that his words reached a few people that were offended, and Rogan made himself look silly. There were any number of things that he could have said that didn’t potentially insult or offend others.
That being said, it was a clear case of Rogan simply saying something without thinking, and it was highly doubtful that there was any kind of malicious or insulting intent towards people with mental disabilities. Rogan has called thousands of UFC fights, and has done fairly raunchy stand-up comedy for well over twenty years. The fact that he has only slipped up a few times is actually pretty impressive. This instance wasn’t even the worst mistake he’s made during a broadcast. Back at the prelims on UFC 146, which were televised on FX, Rogan exclaimed that Diego Brandao was “getting F****ed up.”
Rogan should not have said “retarded” in the way that he did, and that should go without saying. But this is not an issue that people should really even see as notable; this was a silly slip-up, and everyone makes them. Rogan just happened to make his on national television, where everything is hyper-scrutinized.