UFC 271 is in the books, and by and large, the event delivered. It was a solid night of action that saw Israel Adesanya retain the middleweight championship, Tai Tuivasa snatch the KO torch from Houston’s hometown hero Derrick Lewis, and other great performances from Jared Cannonier, Douglas Silva de Andrade, and Renato Moicano to name a few.
One man who was conspicuously absent throughout it all was longtime UFC PPV color man Joe Rogan.
Rogan had been originally scheduled to take part in the event, but he was suddenly replaced by Michael Bisping during Fight Week.
Rumors circulated that this was because either the UFC or ESPN decided to yank Rogan in response to his recent controversy regarding past race-related remarks. The fact that this controversy came immediately after the Spotify boycott in connection to Rogan‘s podcast only helped bolster this conspiracy theory.
Dana White Addresses The Rogan Rumors
There was later word from UFC officials that Rogan did not serve as a color commentator for UFC 271 due to a scheduling conflict. At the post-fight presser, reporters asked White about Rogan’s absence, and the boss implied that the decision for Rogan not to work this event came down to only one man: Rogan himself.
“There was no conflict of schedule,” White said. “Joe Rogan didn’t work tonight. Joe Rogan could’ve worked tonight.”
When directly asked if Rogan elected not to work the event, White was firm about there being nothing from the UFC’s side that kept him from commentating the PPV.
“Yeah…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 bullshit.”
White was unable to confirm when it is Rogan might return to the broadcast booth, but he continued to suggest that Rogan could return to work whenever he wants to.
Rogan has missed pay-per-views from time to time as of late, so it is not too strange that he was absent last night. Ever since this latest controversy spread, he has been hit with a deluge of support from the MMA community, both fans and fighters alike.
Even India Arie, who possibly is mainly responsible for the racial videos going viral, came forward recently to applaud Rogan’s apology for using “the N-word.”
It is currently unclear if Rogan will be back to call UFC 272, but it appears that when he does return, he can expect a very warm welcome from the majority of the MMA community.