Joe Rogan has become an MMA legend in his own right despite never fighting. The popular podcaster has been in the UFC commentary booth for more than 20 years and has become one of the most recognizable voices in all of sport.
In hindsight hiring, Rogan was a stroke of genius. However, at the time it seemed odd to match him with the UFC. Rogan was a comedian and actor with no significant professional fighting experience.
UFC co-founder, Campbell McLaren, who is currently CEO for Combate Americas, told MMA on Sirius XM how Rogan was hired and why he has enjoyed so much success in the role.
“Joe came in at UFC 11. Even by [UFC] 11, we still didn’t have a grip on things. It was so unpredictable,” McLaren said. We would run out of fighters. We were still doing the tournaments, and guys would get hurt, and you couldn’t predict anything. We had no idea what was going to happen.
“I had a background in comedy, and I knew a comedian that could handle hecklers would be very ready for the UFC—for the Ultimate fighting Championship—because they could handle it. I could go ‘Joe, we’re running late, you’ve got to talk to them for five more minutes, tell this guy to shut up.’ And Joe, I believe he’d had a couple of professional kickboxing bouts, he had that Boston tough guy thing. He has was quick on his feet, he had a good sense of humor, and boy, did he drink the Kool-Aid.
“He came in, and he was very good at making it look like what was happening was not a disaster about to really spin out of control. It was his ability to handle hecklers as much as anything, and thinking on [his] feet, going with the flow, because you couldn’t map out what was going to happen back then. It was really tough back then, and he was such a great addition. I think Joe’s one of the best announcers in sports. He’s certainly the best podcaster.” (Transcribed by MMA Mania)
Do you think Joe Rogan is the best hire in UFC history?