Joe Rogan Won’t Be Cageside For UFC 249
Joe Rogan, a staple of the UFC broadcasting team since 1997, say’s that he won’t be commentating at UFC 249. Talking on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience (as transcribed by MMA Fighting), the long time commentator said that he does not know the specifics of how UFC 249 is going to happen in light of the global lockdown, as a result of the coronavirus. But he does know that he won’t be there to commentate.
“The UFC is talking about putting on a fight on April 18th,” Rogan said. “I don’t know how they’re gonna do that. I don’t know if they’re gonna be able to do that in the United States. They’re talking about doing it in a place with less than 10 people, just an open arena – I guess someone’s gonna commentate it [but] it’s not gonna be me – and they’re gonna be duking it out in an empty place. And they’re gonna try to do that on the 18th.”
Both fans and fighters got a taste of watching fights in empty arenas when UFC Brasília had to take place behind closed doors. As the sound of punches echoed around the empty arena it was a weird experience altogether. And the same fate might lie ahead for UFC 249 as well.
“They did it for the last card in Brazil because it was ordered by the government. The government ordered all large gatherings to break up when they started seeing the corona rising in Brazil so they had to do the Brazil card indoors, no people, weird. But they’re gonna plan Khabib and Tony this way. They’re gonna plan it, so it doesn’t even have to be a big place. They could do it in, like, a film studio. Legitimately, they could set this up in a film studio somewhere,” Rogan said.
“We did it when we did Fight for the Troops. Whenever we did it, they just would use an airplane hangar. The troops would be there. The whole audience would be the troops and their uniforms and they would set up this octagon in an airplane hangar. It was pretty powerful. Different. Real different. Different kind of show. But they could do that. They could do that in a studio or just a large warehouse. The UFC could do it. Set up some lights, have some crazy high-speed hookup to the internet, let’s party. Next thing you know, it’s getting uploaded and we’re watching it from here.”
The UFC definitely has the resources and the experience to hold event in such strange circumstances, but the question is if they should. Despite postponing three of their events, the promotion has received some criticism for deciding to push ahead with UFC 249 at all costs.
“They could definitely [hold the event]. The UFC has the capability of doing that. The thing is, how are they going to make sure nobody has it?” Rogan asked. “You’re going to have to test everybody. And if someone has it, do you let them fight? What if they have it and they’re like Idris Elba and they have no symptoms but they’ve got the corona? What if Khabib [Nurmagomedov] has the corona? Or what if Tony [Ferguson] has the corona, does Khabib even fight him?” the concerned commentator asked.
Despite the concerns, UFC president Dana White believes that the UFC should give their fans something to cheer about amid the chaos that has engulfed the world.
And when you take into account that Khabib vs Ferguson has been cancelled on four previous occasions, Rogan says it’s easy to see why Dana is so determined to see it go down on April 18th.
“This fight is so cursed! This is how Dana feels. This is why Dana’s trying so hard to make it happen even if there’s only ten people in the room.”
As of writing Khabib Nurmagomedov has moved back to Dagestan to finish his training camp. And ironically Dagestan officials have identified their first coronavirus patient this morning, complicating the situation a bit more.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson will go down on April 18th?