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Morning Report: Joe Rogan attributes Jon Jones' lack of popularity to racism, believes Jones would be embraced if he were white

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones remains one of MMA's most polarizing figures. As of Aug. 31, the sport's unquestioned pound-for-pound king became the longest-reigning title holder in the division's history, but Jones' Hall of Fame credentials haven't always translated into fan adoration. Routinely introduced to a chorus of boos, Jones seems to enjoy a strange existence as an unwilling villain.

Monday, UFC commentator Joe Rogan attributed much of the criticism Jones receives to racism.

"I don't know why Jon is not more loved or popular than he is," Rogan said on his podcast. "I don't understand it. In my opinion, I will never miss a Jon Jones f***ing pay-per-view. I've heard people say, 'Oh, he's cocky. He's this and [that].' I wonder what the f**k is going on with that and I'm going to throw this out there, I'm just going to say it: I wonder how much of it is racism. I really do.

"You know why? Because I think they look at him as this cocky black guy and I think a lot of people have an issue with that. I think that if he was a white guy and he was doing the same thing, a la a Chael Sonnen, I think he would be way more popular. Chael was never the successful athlete that Jon is, but I think Chael was way more successful as a promoter than Jon is. Jon has not been nearly as cocky or outwardly braggadocious as Chael was."

Everyone from media to fans to fellow fighters seems to have their own take on Jones' reputation. Most of Jones' marquee wins came at the incredible expense of fan favorites like Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson and Lyoto Machida. Jones was also blamed for the cancellation of UFC 151 after refusing to face Sonnen, who offered to step in last minute and replace an injured Dan Henderson.

"I just always found it odd when everybody would get upset at him and say that they didn't like that 'he's cocky.' He's 25 and he's the UFC's light heavyweight champion. He's the youngest ever UFC champion. He destroyed Shogun [Rua] to win the title and I mean destroyed. He threw a flying knee and hit Shogun in the chin five seconds into their fight. I mean, Jon Jones is a motherf***er. He's a motherf***er, but for whatever reason people have had an issue with that. I know I'm going to get a bunch of hate tweets. 'F**k you and your f***ing bulls**t. What do you got? White guilt? Calling out racism?'

Rogan has taken flak this week for mocking professional wrestling on a Sept. 4 episode of his podcast and joked that he expected a similar backlash for his comments regarding Jones.

"I'm probably going to get an equal amount from 'the Aryan race,' mad at me for defending Jon Jones, 'The cocky negro.' I really think there's something to that. I think people want a guy who is so physically gifted and young and brash and black and rich, they want him to have more humility or fake humility, as it were. I think Jon's trying that a little bit and that's one of the reasons Daniel Cormier was like, 'You are so fake.' Cormier was saying that to him because I think he's trying to counteract how people feel about him."

Jones defends his title to Cormier Jan. 3, 2015 at UFC 182 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

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'Ghosts.' Anderson Silva is working with a psychologist to help gain confidence with the leg he broke against Chris Weidman at UFC 168. 'I'm a little apprehensive in training. I know I can execute the movement, but I end up not doing it for fear.'

'It was pretty much me or the sport of MMA.' Henry Cejudo explains how his bad weight cut forced him out of UFC 177. 'My coach just made the executive decision to take get an IV, and we went and we talked to the UFC, and they saw how I looked...and we just made a decision to pull out of the fight.'

Close. UFC beat Bellator in the Friday night ratings battle, but not by much.

'Hard to respect.' Anthony Johnson goes into further detail about Alistair Overeem's training incidents. 'Maybe he's changed, but as soon as I heard that he hurt Jon Jones and where he kneed Andrei Arlovski, I was like, ‘Damn that s**t sounds familiar.'

Watch The MMA Hour featuring Stephan Bonnar, Anthony Johnson, Thiago Silva, Muhammed Lawal, Henry Cejudo, Ross Goodman and Luke Thomas.

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MEDIA STEW

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Fight Motion: UFC Fight Night - Jacare vs. Mousasi.

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Free Fight: Andrei Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia.

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Gilbert Melendez talks TUF 20 coaching stint and rivalry with Anthony Pettis.

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Robin Black's breakdown of Ronaldo Souza's takedowns against Gegard Mousasi.

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Paul Daley talks Bellator return, Scott Coker and his kickboxing future.

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Phil Baroni gets his nose fixed. (Warning for medical footage)

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Long watches.

Knuckle Up #401: UFC FightNight, Bellator, Emmanuel Newton + Death

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All Access: Mayweather vs. Maidana 2 - Full Episode 1

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TWEETS

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New deal.

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Good idea.

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Rematches are dumb. #ufcfightnight

Don't be scared homie #ufcfightnight

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Make it happen.

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Damn.

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Sounds good.

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Get drunk at Chili's for a good cause this time.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Sept. 8 2014)

Beneil Dariush vs. Alan Patrick at UFC 179

Yan Cabral vs. Naoyuki Kotani at UFC 179

Eduardo Dantas vs. Joe Warren at Bellator 128

Aljamain Sterling out, Mitch Gagnon vs. Rob Font at UFC Fight Night: MacDonald vs. Saffiedine

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via MikeMorganMMA.

I've more than an 'H' bomb for Shogun - Manuwa

KO specialist Jimi 'Posterboy' Manuwa (14-01-0) makes his much anticipated return to the Octagon when he faces Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua (22-09-0) in a five round contest at UFC Fight Night 56 on 8 November in Ginásio Municipal Tancredo Neves, Brazil.

Following his loss to Alexander Gustafsson he took a well earned pause in his regimen to allow himself to regroup his thoughts and battle plan before going back to the gym to turn his attention to Mauricio Rua. Manuwa, who considers Rua as something of an icon, patiently waited for Rua to recover from his fight with Dan Henderson. Rua, currently ranked number nine in the light heavyweight division was worth the wait. "In the top ten of the division it's the only fight that makes senses at the moment. He's ranked higher than me, he's a notable opponent. Everyone else in the top ten are fighting each other. I don't have any idols but I will say he was, at one time, one of my favourite fighters and I've always wanted him to win when he fought. I believe a win over him will put me one fight away from being back in title contention."

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Check out the rest of the post here.

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