UFC CEO Dana White refused to fire Joe Rogan amid 2022 Spotify controversy: “When you’re with me, you’re with me’

Joe Rogan and Dana White

Dana White is forever loyal to Joe Rogan.

The longtime UFC commentator and popular podcaster made his promotional debut at UFC 12 in 1997, years before White and the Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC for $2 million. However, it was White who gave Rogan his first shot at the commentary table, booking the then-Fear Factor host for UFC 37.5 (yeah, that’s a thing) in 2002.

Dana White and Joe Rogan

20 years later, Rogan found himself in a heap of hot water after multiple clips of him using racial slurs emerged online. Calls for Rogan’s cancellation grew, particularly as multiple music artists pulled their catalogs from Spotify — which had an exclusive deal with Rogan then.

During a recent interview with Lex Fridman, Dana White revealed that the UFC’s parent company had considered giving Rogan the boot amid growing backlash. White made it clear that if he had been forced to dismiss Rogan, they’d have to find themselves a new UFC CEO as well.

“Anybody who is with me, has been with me, knows,” White said. “When you’re with me, you’re with me. It’s a two-way street. It’s not a one-way street. I’m not one of these guys that is gonna roll over.

“It’s like going through COVID. I wasn’t laying [off] any of these people,” he continued. “Some of these people have been with me for 20 years. We’re gonna lay ‘em off? Uh uh. This motherf*cker will burn, burn before I would do that to my people. It’s just never — none of that type of stuff is ever going to happen while I’m here. I can’t say what’s gonna happen when I leave, but when I’m here, the people who are with me and have been with me they know exactly what’s up, and Joe knows what’s up. It’s a two-way street. Joe Rogan has been very loyal to me, and I am very loyal to Joe Rogan.”

Joe Rogan worked his first 13 UFC events for free

Sharing some insight into his relationship with Rogan and the ride-or-die friendship they share, White shared that Rogan worked his first 13 events as a commentator for free while the promotion was still working to become profitable.

“It’s a fact that he doesn’t care about money and he did the first 13 shows free for us,” White said. “That was at a time when we were hurting and he was like, ‘Wait a minute. You want me to do the commentary? You’re saying I get to sit in the best seat in the house and watch these fights for free? Yeah, I’m in.’ Then, obviously, when he turned things around, we made it up to Joe, but Joe is one of the things I loved early about [the UFC].”

Joe Rogan

Today, Joe Rogan has a net worth of roughly $200 million. In February, it was revealed that Rogan had signed a new deal multi-year deal with Spotify worth an estimated $250 million.

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In February 2022, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek denounced the host’s use of racist language but said, “I do not believe that silencing Joe is the answer.”

Joe Rogan