UFC commentator Joe Rogan has been around the sport for a long time and has grown with the UFC since the early days of the promotion.
Here, we take a look at a younger Joe Rogan making his first appearance at UFC 12: Judgement Day, which took place on February 7, 1997, at the Dothan Civic Center in Dothan, Alabama.
Rogan’s job for the event was not his typical gig as Octagon-side commentator but interviewed fighters backstage and in between fights as the tournament style format had some athletes fight more than once through the night.
Familiar fighters from event included Dan Severn, Mark Coleman and Vitor Belfort also made his UFC debut on the card that took place nearly 20 years ago.
Rogan was on and off with his duties with the UFC following UFC 12 but eventually landed a more consistent gig when Zuffa purchased the UFC. At one point, Rogan had a streak doing every UFC event as the commentator alongside partner Mike Goldberg. However, with more and more events being put on as the mixed martial arts promotion grew, the schedule got to be too much for Rogan, who also is a stand-up comedian and has stuck to more of the UFC pay-per-view and FOX-televised events.
Rogan who trains in martial arts himself has a great amount of knowledge as a commentator and his enthusiasm for the sport is hard to find with anyone else in the industry, which has gained Rogan a huge fanbase.
Many fans were left wondering if the UFC would be the same when Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast earlier this year that he wasn’t sure if he would be re-signing his contract to continue working as a commentator with the UFC. However, Rogan recently stated that he re-signed a one-year contract extension with the UFC but will stick to just the national shows so he can continue working on his other endeavors.
“I was really convinced it was over,” Rogan recently said on his podcast. [UFC 196], 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 cageside for the craziest shit in the sporting world ever!”