The plot thickens around Joe Rogan’s absence from the UFC’s latest pay-per-view.
Earlier this week, it was initially reported that Rogan was to serve his usual role as a color commentator for UFC 271, but it was later reported on Friday that Michael Bisping would replace him. In statement issued to MMA Fighting, the UFC said Rogan had a “scheduling conflict” that made him unavailable for Saturday’s event.
Rogan is a mainstay of UFC pay-per-views, and the timing of the news was suspicious given that he has recently come under fire after a video showing him using a racial slur on multiple occasions surfaced, as well as for using his popular podcast to provide a platform for guests with controversial stances on the COVID-19 pandemic.
UFC President Dana White was asked for his thoughts on the Rogan situation at the UFC 271 post-fight presser, and he refuted the UFC’s official statement, saying that Rogan was available to work the commentary desk.
“There’s no conflict of schedule,” White said. “Joe Rogan didn’t work tonight. Joe Rogan could’ve worked tonight.”
Pressed for details, White confirmed that it was Rogan’s choice not to commentate on Saturday.
“Yeah,” White said. “I don’t know what Joe Rogan had to do, you guys will have to ask Joe Rogan, but there was no ‘Joe couldn’t work’ or anything like that. I know that came out. It’s total bullsh*t.”
Rogan’s absence was noted during the evening as a “Free Joe Rogan” chant broke out on more than one occasion at Toyota Center. It is expected that Rogan will resume his duties at UFC 272 in Las Vegas on March 5.
However, White could not say for sure when Rogan will return.
“Whenever he’s gonna work again, he’ll be working,” White said.