Joe Rogan Issues Apology for UFC 223 Commentary

Joe Rogan has been a part of the UFC’s broadcast team for the better part of two decades. As much as Bruce Buffer’s introductions are a staple of the MMA juggernaut, so is Rogan’s cageside fervor.

Rogan is genuinely passionate about mixed martial and that comes through loud and clear every time he takes to the mic. But on Saturday night, his deep knowledge and intense commentary came across to some as being overly critical of UFC 223 main eventer Khabib Nurmagomedov.

While the Dagestani fighter thoroughly dominated Al Iaquinta over the course of their five-round fight and won the undisputed UFC lightweight championship, Rogan was somewhat critical of Nurmagomedov, identifying holes in his game that Iaquinta helped to exploit.

Many criticized Rogan for dwelling on the areas where Iaquinta was able to find some moderate late success.

Jimmy Smith, Joe Rogan and Jon Anik - UFC 223Late Sunday night, Rogan issued an explanation and an apology, insisting that it was not his intent to deride Nurmagomedov. In fact, it was quite the opposite, he found it fascinating to see a few chinks in Nurmagomedov’s armor, as he has largely dominated everyone that he has fought, showing almost zero weakness.

UFC 223 was the first event to feature the broadcast booth dream team of Rogan, Jon Anik, and former Bellator commentator Jimmy Smith, whom Rogan helped recruit to the UFC. By most accounts, it was a rousing success overall, despite the criticism that Rogan received for his commentary during the main event.

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Joe Rogan’s Full Statement on UFC 223 and Khabib Nurmagomedov

“It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov. In one of the most talent-stacked divisions, to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of,” Rogan wrote on Instagram.

The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling. When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armor, and on Saturday night, we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta.

Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag-doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds, Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defense. Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset.

When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al, who is an almost impossible underdog, I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division. I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib. In fact, I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all-time favorite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology.

When I commentate on fights, my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously, all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating, I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit.”

It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as @khabib_nurmagomedov. In one of the most talent stacked divisions to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of. The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling. When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armor, and on Saturday night we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta. Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defense. Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset. When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al who is an almost impossible underdog I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division. I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib, in fact I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all time favorite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology. When I commentate on fights my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit.

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