Actor, comedian, and UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan has mixed feelings about the Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier brawl that broke out at the UFC 178 Media Tour at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. He believes it could cast a negative light on the sport, but a spotlight on the fight.
“It was ridiculous,” said Rogan on a recent edition of his podcast. “This can’t happen. You can’t do that. This is real bad for the sport. It’s real bad. It’s real bad for public perception. It’s a weapon to be used against MMA. It’s unfortunate.
“I think it’s ridiculous. It’s ridiculous,” he said. “It’s just so bad for the image of the sport… These guys were not professional.”
In the aftermath of the altercation, Rogan called for a no contact policy for fighters at press conferences and weigh-ins.
“What you’ve got to have, everybody should have, is a no contact policy. Unless they agree to hug or shake hands and hug, there should be a no contact policy. And anybody who clearly violates that no contact policy gets fined,” he said. “Some guys can deal with it, the getting in the guy’s face. But when you have a situation like this, you’re going to have to have a no contact policy with those guys.”
Rogan’s biggest concern about what transpired is how it reflects on the sport of mixed martial arts.
“The importance of that not happening is huge. It’s huge. It’s just a negative connotation attached is what that is. That’s just violence,” said the long-time UFC broadcaster.
“The difference between that kind of violence and the violence of a sport is the violence of a sport is everyone’s agreeing to this scenario. You’re agreeing to train for X amount of weeks. You’re going to fight for X amount of rounds. You’re going to fight this guy. He weighs what you weigh. Everybody prepares and you meet on this day and you compete,” added Rogan.
“It is fighting as a competition, but it’s not violence the same way (the brawl) is. That’s a street fight. That’s a world champion mixed martial artist fighter and an Olympic wrestler in a street fight. That’s bad for everybody. That’s bad for wrestling. That’s bad for MMA. That’s bad for sports,” he added.
But just because something could potentially put the sport in a bad light doesn’t mean it wasn’t good for promotion. The general pubic interest in the title fight escalated considerably following the incident.
“It’s fun for people to watch. I have two ways of looking at it. Part of me is like, that’s bad for the sport, but part of me is how I feel about it, though. Does it bum me out? No. It doesn’t make me upset. I’m not upset. I’m looking forward to watching this fight even more now,” said Rogan. “I’m not going to pretend that that’s not fun. I’m not going to pretend that that didn’t make everyone way more excited about that fight because it (expletive) for sure did.
“It’s not good to do, but it was fun to watch and more people are going to be excited about the fight. That’s the catch-22. There’s no real black or white about this,” continued the UFC commentator.
“As a representative of the sport, I absolutely wish it didn’t happen. As a person who cares a lot about the future of the sport and the public’s perception, which I think is already a little skewed. I think there’s a lot of people that aren’t fans that like to look at the people that fight in MMA as barbarians,” added the 46-year-old Rogan.
“Part of me gets bummed out when I see (expletive) like that, but part of me is like they’re going to fight anyway, so they fought a little here. You’re getting a little taste. I don’t know. It’s going to be a wild-ass fight, though.”