Joe Rogan is a Renaissance Man for the modern age: there's not a single subject he's interested in that he doesn't obsess about until he's an expert. He's crazy about jiu jitsu and before that it was tae kwon do and kickboxing. You can hear his decades of experience in martial arts come out in every UFC event he calls. So why did he never end up fighting for the promotion?
Former kickboxer champ Joseph 'Bazooka Joe' Valtellini asked him just that on a recent Joe Rogan Experience Podcast and Rogan had some sobering reasons as to why.
"I'm old as f*ck," Rogan said with a laugh. "If I was competing still when the UFC was around, I probably would have done something ... when I stopped fighting, it was in 1989, that was the last kickboxing fight I had. And there was nothing, there was no money in it. And I was getting headaches just from sparring."
"I did not spar smart. I sparred meathead style. I know a lot more today than I ever knew then as far as consequences and what's important and how to learn better. I was good at being obsessed with things, just focusing on them constantly all the time, it was kinda frantic, it wasn't calculated and intelligent."
"There was essentially no way to have a career other than teaching," Joe continued. "And so when I started to get into stand up comedy, I realized, 'Oh wow, I could make a living doing this.' Like there's actually a real path, like there's guys I know that make a living doing this. While everyone I know in fighting is broke or they're slurring their words. Guys from the gym would be in gym wars and now they're all f*cked up, they don't know where they parked their car. There was a lot of that sh*t that was scaring the f*ck out of me."
This isn't the first time Rogan has expressed his concerns regarding concussions in mixed martial arts. After hosting several podcasts with experts on traumatic brain injury, he publicly debated whether he still wanted to be as involved in the UFC knowing the damage the fighters were taking in the cage. But in the end, Rogan re-signed with the UFC for at least another year as their pay-per-view color commentator.
I still would have loved to see him fight Wesley Snipes, though.