In the post-fight medical light of Josh Koscheck’s potentially career-ending broken orbital bone, there have been a few grumblings and mumblings across the internets that Joe Rogan was irresponsible to rail against the doctor potentially stopping the fight. (“Get out of there, Kris Kringle.”) And in a perfect world they have a strong point. A ringside doctor should have the freedom to stop a fight without pressure from a glowering referee (e.g. “Too much Herb” Dean) or a commentator insulting – even amusingly – his snow-white facial hair.
However, the point rests on the assumption that the doctor is qualified to make such a decision. This is not a perfect world; it’s the NSAC’s world and patronage is its game.
Rogan must have taken one look at “that Kris Kringle dude” and thought, “Oh shit, here we go again.” Not one week earlier Joe had let blast a stem-winding rant against the NSAC’s incompetence. It was the most important one since Dana’s do-you-want-to-be-a-fucking-fighter? When Rogan called out Keith Kizer by name, you could almost hear Goldberg’s intake of breath. As we all know from Big John’s case, criticizing the NSAC is a banish-able offense.
But unlike Big John, who had left the UFC and thus become persona non grata, Rogan is a friend of Dana, and FoDs can do no wrong. This allows him to be the most honest guy in MMA today. Also, unlike everyone else in the organization, he was famous before the UFC blew up and could easily get a better paying gig watching morons eat worms.
But it’s not his bracing, stand-up-comedian bullshit-calling, nor his passion for explaining the intricacies of the ground game, that make me a Joe Rogan nuthugger. It was what happened when I met him.
Last year, I was at Tuff-N-Uff’s “Tuff Girls,” the first all-women’s amateur MMA card. It was held the night before UFC 100. That weekend Vegas was MMA insane. 7,000 fans attended the weigh-ins. I couldn’t even get into the Expo it was so full. In all this frenzy, Joe Rogan along with one of the TapouT guys (Screech?—I can never remember which clown is which) walked into The Orleans’ auditorium and sat in the front row.
I figured he was making an appearance and would soon leave. But he sat there for fight after fight. And I must say, even though I fully support WMMA, most of the matches were difficult to watch—barely above catfight level. Even my wife, who is all for women breaking into male-dominated worlds, said to me, “I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”
As the event wore on, it struck me: Joe Rogan could be at any number of crazy Vegas club parties filled with smoking hot groupies, free drinks, and MMA legends. And yet here he was spending the biggest Friday evening in MMA history at this little show.
I went over to the Tuff-N-Uff promoter, Jeff Meyer, and asked him to introduce us.
“You don’t need an introduction,” he said. “Joe’s an open guy. He’ll talk to anyone.”
With some trepidation, I went over and introduced myself. Sure enough his smile was big and he moved over to offer me a seat.
“So what do you think of the fights?” I asked.
“I’m a big fan of women’s MMA,” he said. “But I like the more technical fighters, like Gina Carano. Some of these girls…it just seems like they need a hug.”
Dana White loves the UFC. Joe Rogan loves MMA.
And that’s why I love me some Joe Rogan.
(Matthew Polly is the author of two books, one so amazing and exclusive you have to travel into the future to buy it. He contributes to Fightlinker because we have photographs. Dirty, secret photographs.)