Joe Rogan considers Ronda Rousey a friend. He also had a job to do when he entered the Octagon on Saturday night to interview Holly Holm after one of the most stunning knockouts in UFC history.
Holm beat Rousey with a head kick in the second round, sending shockwaves through the sport. Coming into UFC 193, Rousey was an undefeated champion and thought to be nary unbeatable by many.
It was up to Rogan to sort it all out as he stepped into the cage and began asking Holm questions. In the color commentator's mind, the shocking upset will be a positive for the sport.
"As a person, I'm sad for [Rousey's] loss, that this happened to her," Rogan said on his Joe Rogan Experience podcast,which published Monday. "But Holly Holm is a great person, too. They're two great competitors. And I think ultimately what happened last night, yesterday is great for martial arts. It's great for MMA. Even though it was terrible for Ronda and I feel terrible for her, I feel great for Holly Holm. It's very conflicted."
Rogan was disappointed in the actions (or maybe inactions) of Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan, who praised Rousey in the corner after the first round even though she had lost the first five minutes decisively.
"I like Edmond," Rogan said. "I talk to him all the time. I enjoy talking to him. I always hug that guy when I see him. I do not like what he did in the corner. He wasn't honest. He told her she did great. He was like, 'Great round, champ. Everything is great.' Maybe he was trying to psychologically pump her up, but she needed technical advice. She needed someone to tell her what she's doing wrong and how to correct it. I think he's more of like a boxing coach than he is an overall MMA coach."
Rousey's mother, AnnMaria De Mars, blasted Tarverdyan in a series of scathing interviews last month. UFC president Dana White, who was a guest on Rogan's podcast, which was filmed on the plane coming home form Australia, defended Tarverdyan a bit.
"The thing is, if it isn't broke, don't fix it," White said. "Now what do they do? Listen, at the end of the day, Edmond is a guy who really cares about Ronda and her career and all of that stuff. I think as a team, they'll sit down and try to figure out what went wrong and what needs to be fixed."
What doesn't need to be fixed is the UFC. Holm is the new women's bantamweight champion and there will be a blockbuster of a rematch forthcoming.
Rogan said it was difficult to keep his emotions in check for the post-fight interview given his relationship with Rousey and Holm's character.
"This is the biggest moment of Holly Holm's life and I want to honor that," Rogan said. "I am genuinely happy for her and while at the same time genuinely sad for Ronda. I can't acknowledge that. I have to be happy for Holly.
"Even though I love Ronda and I care about Ronda, what a good person Holly Holm is. You can't help feel happy for her."
White co-signed that sentiment, praising Holm's family and team.
"Holly Holm and her father, her husband and all the crew that was around her, could not have been better people could not have handled the whole situation better," White said. "I couldn't agree with you more. Such very, very good people."