For UFC fans, Joe Rogan is an integral part of the promotion that accompanies them through fights. Of course, there are instances when he’s absent from his commentary position behind the announcers’ table, but such occurrences are usually due to him having other engagements. However, tonight at UFC Fight Night: Kattar vs. Emmett Rogan follows the action from the audience.
The popular media personality and UFC commentator posted a picture from the stands and stated that for the first time in 20 years, he was watching an event as a member of the audience:
“First time in the audience at a @ufc in 20 years! #ufcaustin”
Joe Rogan worked for the UFC from 1997 to 1999. However, he quit after his remuneration for the events wasn’t enough to cover his expenses. Following Zuffa’s takeover of the UFC in 2001, Dana White convinced Joe Rogan to rejoin the company in 2002.
Joe Rogan recalled his first stint with the UFC
In the 90s, UFC was a more gritty and rough affair, with events taking place in obscure parts of the United States. The promotion wasn’t paying much and was carried by the dedication of its fighters and staff, Rogan included.
During the JRE MMA Show episode with Julianna Pena, Rogan shared his experience working for the UFC as a backstage interviewer. He admitted that he had to quit due to financial reasons, as he was earning more as a stand-up comedian:
“When I first started working for the UFC, I was on the NewsRadio, the sitcom. I was flying in those f***ing puddle jumper planes. People were acting as if I was doing p*rn. They asked why you’re doing that and I was like I love it… There was a thing where I was wondering if this is damaging my career. But I was like I don’t care, I love doing it. It got to the point where it was costing me too much money. I would make more money doing a standup during the weekend than doing the UFC. So I quit [around] 1997-98.”
Listen to Joe Rogan talk about his early UFC experience below:
As mentioned earlier, Rogan and White became friends in 2001 which led to him taking place behind the broadcasters’ desk a year later. Since then, Rogan has been the staple voice of the promotion and has also become arguably the biggest podcaster on the planet.