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.
ďIt was ridiculous,Ē said Rogan on a recent edition of his podcast. ďThis canít happen. You canít do that. This is real bad for the sport. Itís real bad. Itís real bad for public perception. Itís a weapon to be used against MMA. Itís unfortunate.
ďI think itís ridiculous. Itís ridiculous,Ē he said. ďItís just so bad for the image of the sportÖ These guys were not professional.Ē
In the aftermath of the altercation, Rogan called for a no contact policy for fighters at press conferences and weigh-ins.
ďWhat youíve 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,Ē he said. ďSome guys can deal with it, the getting in the guyís face. But when you have a situation like this, youíre going to have to have a no contact policy with those guys.Ē
Roganís biggest concern about what transpired is how it reflects on the sport of mixed martial arts.
ďThe importance of that not happening is huge. Itís huge. Itís just a negative connotation attached is what that is. Thatís just violence,Ē said the long-time UFC broadcaster.
ďThe difference between that kind of violence and the violence of a sport is the violence of a sport is everyoneís agreeing to this scenario. Youíre agreeing to train for X amount of weeks. Youíre going to fight for X amount of rounds. Youíre going to fight this guy. He weighs what you weigh. Everybody prepares and you meet on this day and you compete,Ē added Rogan.
ďIt is fighting as a competition, but itís not violence the same way (the brawl) is. Thatís a street fight. Thatís a world champion mixed martial artist fighter and an Olympic wrestler in a street fight. Thatís bad for everybody. Thatís bad for wrestling. Thatís bad for MMA. Thatís bad for sports,Ē he added.
But just because something could potentially put the sport in a bad light doesnít mean it wasnít good for promotion. The general pubic interest in the title fight escalated considerably following the incident.
ďItís fun for people to watch. I have two ways of looking at it. Part of me is like, thatís bad for the sport, but part of me is how I feel about it, though. Does it bum me out? No. It doesnít make me upset. Iím not upset. Iím looking forward to watching this fight even more now,Ē said Rogan. ďIím not going to pretend that thatís not fun. Iím not going to pretend that that didnít make everyone way more excited about that fight because it (expletive) for sure did.
ďItís not good to do, but it was fun to watch and more people are going to be excited about the fight. Thatís the catch-22. Thereís no real black or white about this,Ē continued the UFC commentator.
ďAs a representative of the sport, I absolutely wish it didnít happen. As a person who cares a lot about the future of the sport and the publicís perception, which I think is already a little skewed. I think thereís a lot of people that arenít fans that like to look at the people that fight in MMA as barbarians,Ē added the 46-year-old Rogan.
ďPart of me gets bummed out when I see (expletive) like that, but part of me is like theyíre going to fight anyway, so they fought a little here. Youíre getting a little taste. I donít know. Itís going to be a wild-ass fight, though.Ē