If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed Joe Rogan has been absent from all of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events on FOX and FOX Sports 1 as of late, opting to stick to just the bigger pay-per-view (PPV) cards.
While the longtime UFC color commentator admits the wear and tear of trying to be at every single event can be taxing, he recently shed some more light on why he no longer covers FOX events.
During a recent episode of the Fight Companion podcast, Rogan explained his falling out with the network, which had a lot to do with the lack of pay as well as wanting to turn the outspoken commentator into something he wasn’t.
“My contract is with the UFC and I was never working for FOX,” Rogan said (via MMA Junkie). “That was one of the stipulations of my newer contract (with the UFC), was I said I didn’t want to do the FOX events anymore. This year, I don’t do any of the FOX events. You’ll notice when there’s big fights on FOX, I don’t do any of them – none of them. Zero. Stopped doing it – didn’t want to do it anymore. Too much work, too much travel. (Wearing a) suit is not a big deal because they have the suit there for me, but my issue was FOX actually paid me less money – less money to do the events on FOX. I was like, ‘You guys are high.’”
Furthermore, Rogan revealed that during the early stages of the deal between UFC and FOX, producers tried to get into his ear in an attempt to switch up his style and tone it down a bit.
Joe, of course, wasn’t having it.
“They got in my ear,” Rogan said. “The very first events for FOX, they were like telling me what to do. They were telling me to take it down a notch. ‘Don’t be so amped up about that guy,’ I was like, ‘What? What are you doing here?’ I go, ‘Listen, I do commentary. This is what I do. I’ve been doing it forever. This is how I do it. If you think you can change me, then we’re not going to work together.’ We had a real problem for the first event. It was a FOX production,” he added.
In order to ease the tension and settle differences, Rogan expressed his concerns with producers and ultimately things cooled off.
“I didn’t like it. They want a sports guy. Look, MMA is what it is. It’s fighting. It is a very specific kind of sport. I’ve been doing it the way I’ve been doing it forever. If you don’t like the way I do it, that’s fine. Don’t hire me. But don’t try to get me to become some sports guy. I’m not interested in that at all.”
While UFC had no problems filling the void left behind by Rogan, it’s safe to assume we will see a lot more from him now that the promotion has inked a massive deal with ESPN, which will begin early next year.
And since UFC will have full control of production, Joe doesn’t have to worry about “The Worldwide Leader In Sports” trying to turn him into a “sports guy.”