Popular podcaster and UFC color commentator Joe Rogan ripped one of his employer’s business practices during a recent episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience” featuring Bellator heavyweight Josh Barnett.
“I’ve said this from the beginning,” Rogan said. “I just don’t think it’s fair.”
During that discussion, Rogan revealed he didn’t like the win bonus structure used by the UFC, Bellator and other MMA promoters around the world one bit because it meant that “people just get f***ing robbed”.
In June, the 52-year-old Rogan celebrated his 18th anniversary working as a UFC color commentator. Rogan’s first gig with the company came as a backstage interviewer way back in 1997 at UFC 12.
While Rogan didn’t explicitly state that he blamed the UFC and other MMA promoters around the world for the win bonus structure they currently employ, the fault for the setup lies with no one else but them.
So Rogan at least indirectly blamed his employer for setting up a system that wasn’t as good as it could be.
That kind of authenticity is what helps make Rogan so popular.
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Rogan: ‘You’ve Got to Do Something About Judging’
Rogan said he doesn’t believe win bonuses offer fighters any more incentive to win than they already have.
It’s worth noting that this type of win bonus is not seen at all in the world of professional boxing.
“I don’t think [win bonuses] incentivize those guys,” Rogan said. “At the top level? Have you ever tried to not win?”
Moreover, Rogan said he believes there are far too many instances in MMA of judges not scoring fights properly. In that way, bad scorecards lead to fighters earning less money than they sometimes deserve.
“First of all, if you’re going to do a win bonus, you’ve got to do something about the judging,” Rogan said. “You need to have a better scoring system and you need to get rid of incompetence.”
Rogan also suggested that companies such as the UFC shouldn’t simply rely on local combat sports commissions to do their jobs.
Instead, if the UFC and others want to keep using win bonuses, they should take a more active role in helping commissions at the local level.
“Then, when you go to other states, you need to take control of the situation,” Rogan said. “Yes, in other states it’s dire. I don’t want to name states, but there have been states where we do fights where I’m just going, ‘Who watched that fight? How is that even possible?’”
From Rogan’s perspective, judges are way too involved in determining how much fighters get paid.
That only adds fuel to the already combustible situation that exists today.
Over the past few months, several of the most prominent UFC stars in the world have openly complained about fighter pay. So the company doesn’t need something that appears to be an easily solvable issue on its hands right now, too.
“If you have win bonuses, if a guy comes in and gets 50, and if he wins he gets another 50, you stole $50,000 from that guy by giving him incompetent judging,” Rogan said. “If you’re a fighter, you’ve got to do your best to win. If that means taking a guy down and hump and throw enough punches to keep the referee from standing it up, that’s $50,000 for you.”
Rogan Hopes Alternative Solutions Emerge
Rogan stopped short of offering a real solution or legit alternative to using win bonuses.
While Rogan remains one of the most knowledgable insiders in the sport, he seems to be leaving the work of coming up with better methods for others to do. Regardless, Rogan hopes to see it happen soon.
“I would at least like to see someone come along with an alternative take on how fighters are paid, and we haven’t really seen that,” Rogan said.
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