UFC commentator Joe Rogan now only works US-based PPV cards. UFC 249 would qualify, but the COVID-19 global pandemic complicated matters, and ultimately shuttered the show, which saved Rogan from having to make the decision whether to attend or not.
The cancelation news came live, mid-podcast, and this is Rogan's reaction.
“I was 75 percent ready to go. The only thing that worried me, is that if I contracted something and then I came into contact with other people. So what I was going to do, is if I could definitely get tested and then I would have to know the results before I come back. It’s f***ing... even then, you don’t know.
“Listen man, I was hesitant. I really want to go. I was leaning towards going, but I’m like ‘God I don’t want to hear it from people that don’t think it’s a good idea.' I’m not interested in putting myself at risk, but my real concern was how do I know if I contract it and then I bring it back? How am I gonna know? And I had to be honest with myself, like I really wouldn’t be able to know. So the only way I would be able to do it, is to do it then be in quarantine until I get tested. Jesus Christ. I want to find out.”
“Imagine being the president of the UFC," said Rogan, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. "Imagine having all these fights that you have to make and having all this pressure on you, and you’re also a famous guy like Dana is. Imagine being that guy. F*** that job. President of the UFC is second only to President of the United States. [Laughs]. Bro, he’s under ridiculous amounts of pressure."
“The most important thing is he’s a psychotic driving force for the most exciting organization in the world and I don’t think the organization gets where it is without Dana White. I think you have to have a crazy person at the wheel. You have a guy who doesn’t give a f***. He’s a real man. He doesn’t give a f***, he’ll talk s***, he’ll insult people, he’ll go back with you.”
Rogan's friend and fellow comedian Michael Yo contracted COVID-19, was hospitalized, and recovered. But tens of thousands of people have died. White remains intent on being the first sport back, and Rogan supports that, if it can be done safely.
“As long as the right precautions are in place, I agree,” said Rogan. “But the thing is, you’ve got to measure, if this was any other disease where we understood it better, I would be way more confident. . . I don’t want people who are less robust than Michael Yo to die, so we’ve got to figure out what the f*** this virus is, how does it get treated, what’s the most effective way, and then it makes sense that we’re a little bit more loose with our regulations.”