Joe Rogan has become as synonymous with the UFC brand as any commentator in sports or entertainment over the years. Like Joe Buck calling the World Series, Mike Emrick calling hockey or even Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler at the helm of the WWE desk, viewers expect to see the longtime color commentator, who made his first appearance with the company back at UFC 12 in 1997.
Rogan dialed back his UFC commentary duties some years back as the UFC expanded its schedule, sticking with marquee pay-per-view events while letting others, such as Daniel Cormier and Paul Felder, handle color on other shows.
The UFC’s transition from FOX over to ESPN for a five-year deal which began last month led to some speculation about Rogan’s future. But during the UFC’s debut on linear ESPN at UFC Phoenix on Sunday, Rogan indicated during his “Fight Companion” podcast he has no desire to change his current setup.
“I would take this for zero money over being in Phoenix right now,” Rogan said. “Although I would want to see those fights live and would love to call those fights live, I’m good with 10 a year. That’s what I like. I like 10 a year. 10 a year is what I like. Once a month, two months off.”
These days, Rogan’s empire includes both his ongoing career as a headlining standup comic and as host of one of the most popular podcasts on the Internet. So with more options, the UFC has become more of something he does because he still enjoys being cageside for live fights after all thee years, rather than something he needs to do out of financial necessity.
“I was thinking I was on my way out, but I still love it,” Rogan said. “And I love it way more now because I don’t have to do it as much. I love it way more now because we do this because we can do all of this sh*t-talking, have fun and be silly.”