Joe Rogan is firmly etched into the fabric of the UFC at this stage of his career.
He began working with the organisation well before it forced its way into the mainstream.
Rogan, who is a long-time practitioner of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu made his on-screen debut way back in 1997.
He initially started out as an interviewer. The then 29-year-old made his first appearance during the broadcast of UFC 12: Judgement Day, how very pro wrestling of them.
This event also starred the UFC debut of the legendary Vitor Belfort. The Brazilian won the heavyweight tournament that night, at the tender age of 19.
However, Rogan would only last two years in the role before calling it quits. Rogan knocked his duties with UFC on the head.
His salary from the company couldn’t even cover his travel cost of getting to the events. This was during a time when MMA was outlawed in America and most events were held in rural areas.
Joe was always a man with plenty of irons in the fire, that continues to be the case to this day.
During the late 90’s, he was starting out his career as a comedian and was beginning to make waves as a television personality.
Despite this, it wasn’t to long before his love of combat sports came calling once again.
After Zuffa took over the UFC, Joe Rogan attended some events and befriended the new UFC President at the time, Dana White.
White quickly offered Rogan a job behind the commentary desk, which he initially declined.
Shortly after, White was able to convince Rogan to come aboard, free of charge. In exchange, Rogan would receive top of the range event tickets for him and his friends.
This was an agreement that worked out for 15 events, meaning the best combat sports commentator in the game today worked unpaid for a substantial amount of time.
Joe would eventually accept paid work from Dana White and has been a colour commentator for the promotion ever since. Working as an independent contractor.
This contract type means Rogan can continue his other life passions.
These include television work like hosting Fear Factor, his ever-growing stand-up comedy career and of course, his widely success podcast The Joe Rogan Experience.
While he has been unbelievably successful in those fields, every MMA fan has a special place in their heart for Joe Rogan.
For a good majority of fans, they spent most of their fandom watching fights with the charismatic duo of Rogan and Mike Goldberg calling the action.
Some of the biggest moments in UFC history can be recognised by the stellar commentary work of both men.
When Goldberg was unceremoniously let go by the UFC in 2016, fans the world over were shocked and saddened as this perfect commentary match came to an end.
However, when Mike Goldberg and UFC parted ways, we started to see a real shift with the UFC commentary team.
For the longest time, Rogan and Goldberg were the main men behind the desk in the organisation.
The likes of Jon Anik, Daniel Cormier, Dominick Cruz, Dan Hardy and Paul Felder have all come in and impressed with their commentary work during UFC events.
So much so, that if Joe Rogan left tomorrow, the UFC wouldn’t be left high and dry.
Even before some of these guys, Brian Stann was excellent in this role. Unfortunately, other ventures meant he couldn’t stick around for the long run.
All, bar Jon Anik, are either former or current fighters with the UFC.
This is a fantastic pathway for fighters looking to retire. While commentary is one of the most difficult jobs in broadcasting. The company is also presenting fighters an opportunity to work in other broadcasting roles on UFC television.
Personally, I don’t really enjoy Michael Bisping as a commentator, but love his antics as a desk analysis at events.
Once a fighter has the right skills in terms of verbal ability and charisma, they now have a possible avenue to go down after retirement. This means the UFC has a steady flow of guys and girls that could jump behind the commentary desk when ready.
Rogan’s Reduced Schedule
This means the UFC has a steady flow of guys and girls that could jump behind the commentary desk when ready.
At one stage, you couldn’t imagine what UFC would be like without Joe Rogan. Now, it’s something modern fans are very much getting use to.
Rogan is now one of the most successful podcasters in the world and a proven draw as a comedian.
This means his appearances as a UFC commentator are gradually becoming more limited. It’s at the stage that Rogan doesn’t even work at UFC events outside of North America partly due to his busy schedule.
Even at that, he is mainly saved for big PPV events in America. But was even absent for UFC 257, headlined by Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier in January.
This provides more opportunities to the names we have already mentioned.
With the likes of Jon Anik or Brendan Fitzgerald working as the lead announcers and the former fighters giving fans more of an insider’s knowledge, just like Rogan.
Both UFC and Joe Rogan have grown together into mammoths in their respective fields.
UFC is no longer this dark underground product, instead it’s one of the biggest selling sports in the world today.
While Joe recently signed a lucrative deal with Spotify, allowing the platform exclusive rights to stream his podcast. The deal is worth $100 million, making The Joe Rogan Experience exclusive to Spotify until next year.
While nobody wants to see Joe Rogan leave the organisation. He has certainly found success on his own outside of the walls of the UFC.
With this success comes an expanding workload and other commitments.
Add this in with the other crop of talented commentators UFC has at its disposal. You can really see why many people believe the working relationship between the UFC and Joe Rogan will be coming to an end sooner rather than later.
Will He Stick Around?
Thankfully, fans will be glad to hear Rogan won’t be handing in his resignation just yet.
At his core, Joe is an MMA fanatic and his passion for calling fights hasn’t dwindled in the least.
The influx of money and experience hasn’t wavered his love for this great sport.
He even admitted he was somewhat expecting to be cut in 2016 along with Mike Goldberg and wasn’t ready for that. Now fans will be glad to know he is seemingly taking it year by year.
It’s evident to see he can work with the newer commentators. He has fantastic on-screen chemistry with both Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier in particular.
Yes, Joe Rogan has outgrown his title as a UFC commentator, he is much more than that now. While he is certainly working on a reduced schedule, he may be sticking around into the near future at least.