If you are an avid watcher of MMA and the UFC more specifically, when watching UFC fight nights on FOX(aka UFC on FOX), you will have noticed about a year or so ago that longtime UFC commentator, Joe Rogan no longer works those events.
With the news of the UFC recently reaching a new deal with ESPN that will begin in 2019, FOX will no longer be home to the UFC. Obviously, this doesn’t mean much for Rogan who wasn’t working the events anyway, but he took the time yesterday during his Fight Companion for UFC Liverpool to go a bit in depth about everything wrong with his relationship with the network.
“My contract is with the UFC and I was never working for FOX. That was one of the stipulations of my newer contract [with the UFC], I said I didn’t want to do the FOX events anymore. This year, I don’t do any of the FOX events. You’ll notice when there’s big fights on FOX, I don’t do any of them. None of them. Zero. Stopped doing it, didn’t want to do it anymore. Too much work, too much travel. [Wearing a] suit is not a big deal because they have the suit there for me, but my issue was FOX actually paid me less money, less money to do the events on FOX. I was like, ‘You guys are high.’
They got in my ear. The very first events for FOX, they were like telling me what to do. They were telling me to take it down a notch. ‘Don’t be so amped up about that guy,’ I was like, ‘What? What are you doing here?’ I go, ‘Listen, I do commentary. This is what I do. I’ve been doing it forever. This is how I do it. If you think you can change me, then we’re not going to work together.’ We had a real problem for the first event. It was a FOX production.
I didn’t like it. They want a sports guy. Look, MMA is what it is. It’s fighting. It is a very specific kind of sport. I’ve been doing it the way I’ve been doing it forever. If you don’t like the way I do it, that’s fine. Don’t hire me. But don’t try to get me to become some sports guy. I’m not interested in that at all.
They stopped doing it after the first event when I voiced my displeasure. I let them know really clearly, ‘Look, we’re not doing this. We’re not going to change how I do it to make you happy. If you don’t like the way I do it, it’s not an option for you to direct me and tell me to do it the way you like it, because you think that’s how.’ They were producers or executives. I don’t agree with them, and I’m not doing it that way.
This is what I do. I get amped up. If some shit goes down and guys are trading blows and I’m screaming, it’s because I feel that way. It’s legitimate passion. I’m not faking it. They let it go after a while, but it’s not like they fought for me when I quit, either.”
Rogan has openly admitted that he’s nearing the end of his career as a commentator and is just fine with doing his Fight Companions. How much commentary he will be doing with ESPN if any at all remains unknown.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/28/2018.