Joe Rogan has long been considered to be the voice of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). That distinction usually belongs to the play-by-play commentator, but Rogan’s voice on UFC broadcasts feels natural to many viewers. He’s been with the promotion since 1997.
The UFC’s seven-year relationship with FOX will be coming to an end, and Rogan will shed few tears. The promotion recently agreed to a $1.5 billion deal with ESPN. There will be 30 events shared between ESPN and ESPN+ annually throughout the five-year deal.
Rogan hasn’t done commentary on FOX card in a while. He explained why during a recent edition of his Fight Companion podcast (via MMAJunkie.com):
“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), was 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.’”
On top of that, Rogan didn’t like people in production in his ear trying to dictate what he said and his energy levels. After all, this is a sport and not the WWE. Rogan made it clear to the production team that he won’t be having people try to control how he does commentary.
“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.”
Do you think Joe Rogan will cover any events on ESPN?