Since taking over the UFC in 2016 for a hefty $4 billion price tag, new owners WME-IMG have been making change. Given the amount they’d spent on acquiring the promotion, alterations were expected. That said, some of the changes have stirred up concerns amongst fans and employees of the promotion. Aside from sacking some 100 employees in the space of a few months, the new owners raised eyebrows with their termination of Mike Goldberg’s contract. After 20 years of working for and helping build the UFC, Goldberg was canned, and not in a nice way.
Yesterday’s alarming interview with ‘Goldie’ provided a deeper insight to his last month with the promotion. Feeling mistreated and dejected, Goldberg said he wasn’t even informed of the reasons for his dismissal, and received no contact from Dana White. Leaving a hole that many feel cannot be filled, Goldberg’s parting with the UFC highlights a worrying time. Among those with an unsure view of WME-IMG is color commentator Joe Rogan.
During a recent episode of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience,’ the longtime commentator voiced his concerns about the new UFC owners. After the quotes you’ll see the latest promo video for UFC Denver, which illustrates Rogan’s worries quite well. Here Rogan is talking about ‘out of context’ quotes used for Ronda Rousey‘s UFC 207 return:
“A lot of that stuff they used in those promos were totally out of context. You gotta respect the champion.
“I have a problem with that, because that’s not what I would say. I saw these executive type guys, I don’t know (maybe) they were part of William Morris (new UFC owners). They were super connected on Rousey’s comeback, they were calling Amanda Nunes ‘cannon fodder.”
“They had this idea that she was just going to go in there and storm the castle, and take back the title. It was weird. Saying the loss was just a bump in the road, just a hiccup. These people who were talking backstage didn’t know Nunes’ name.”
Primarily known as a talent management agency, are WME-IMG experienced enough for the world of MMA? What are your thoughts on the above promo video? Is it a baron example of what’s to come?