UFC color commentator and podcasting superstar Joe Rogan inked a massive deal with Spotify last week. Later this year, “The Joe Rogan Experience” will move over to that media services provider exclusively.
The deal was reported by the Wall Street Journal to be worth over $100 million which is a huge financial windfall for Rogan during a trying time when many people across the world are struggling due to the wide-reaching ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic.
That last bit of information hasn’t gone unnoticed by Rogan.
“It feels gross,” Rogan admitted per the New York Times. “Especially right now, when people can’t work.”
Rogan’s Rise to Fame and Popularity Remains Shocking to Many
Rogan revealed that the massive amount of money he’s on his way to receiving still doesn’t seem real to him.
“Like it doesn’t register,” Rogan said. “Seems fake.”
But Rogan’s incredible popularity is also something that some people can’t quite wrap their heads around.
In a world view that dismisses the thoughts and opinions of people like Rogan, who profess to be “dumb” while at the same time make more money than almost everyone else in their specific industry combined, Rogan’s rapid rise to fame is something that can only be accepted without understanding.
Heck, even some of his friends, such as Bari Weiss, who penned that opinion piece for the New York Times, remain shocked by his popularity:
Rogan is a friend of mine, and I’ve been on his show. But I still find the extent of his popularity mind-boggling. Imagine if I had told you, a dozen years ago, that the former host of “The Fear Factor,” an MMA color commentator who loves cool cars and shooting guns and working out, a guy with a raw interview show featuring comedians, athletes and intellectuals, was more influential than the entire slate of hosts on CNN.
Indeed, as MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin suggests, Rogan is the “uncrowned king” of podcasting.
And as noted by just about everyone else, Rogan can now afford to buy as many golden crowns he wants for himself.
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Rogan’s Deal Juxtaposed Next to UFC Pay Structure
It might not be fair, but some are surely going to juxtapose Rogan’s immense financial windfall with the comparatively lackluster pay structure operating within the UFC.
While Rogan will be netting huge amounts of money sitting cageside on fight night, many of the fighters doing the bloody work inside that cage will still be struggling to make ends meet.
Did you know that one of the UFC 249 main card fighters only left the Octagon that night with a measly $12,000 purse?
Or that UFC veteran Bryan Caraway started a GoFundMe page last week to help pay for his mother’s funeral?
Even long-reigning superstars at the top of the UFC’s pyramid seem to pale in comparison to their contemporaries in other combat sports.
While the UFC was quick to dismiss UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones last week when he wanted more money to face heavyweight knockout machine Francis Ngganou, The Athletic’s Josh Rosenstein was just as quick to point out the still quite staggering pay gap between professional boxers and UFC stars.
It's still staggering to me the difference in fighter pay between MMA and boxing.
Jon Jones' purse was $500,000 at UFC 247.
Canelo Alvarez's purse was $35 million against Sergey Kovalev. pic.twitter.com/nyreqNub7B
— Greg Rosenstein (@grosenstein) May 22, 2020
Of course, none of those things have anything to do with Rogan’s new paycheck.
Rogan’s role as the premier UFC color commentator isn’t directly related to his wildly successful podcast.
But it does at least offer some people, especially those who vilify the wealthy for what they view as the crime of being rich, ample opportunity to criticize Rogan for his success.
It also might add to how gross Rogan feels about all of it, especially on most Saturday nights.
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