Speaking on an episode of MMA on Sirius XM, McLaren explained the decision to hire Rogan, who has long been considered as the voice of the UFC.
“Joe came in on UFC 11. Even by 11, we still didn’t have a grip on things. It was so unpredictable. We would run out of fighters. We were still doing the tournaments, and guys would get hurt, and you couldn’t predict anything. We had no idea what was going to happen," McLaren shared.
Rogan, who now serves as the lead play-by-play commentator for the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world, began his career in the UFC as a backstage interviewer.
Before that however, Rogan was making a name for himself as a comedian, which McLaren saw as a possible advantage.
“I had a background in comedy, and I knew a comedian that could handle hecklers would be very ready for the UFC because they could handle it," McLaren explained. "I could go ‘Joe, we’re running late, you’ve got to talk to them for five more minutes, tell this guy to shut up.’"
Prior to his background in comedy, Rogan was also actually a martial artist, with a background in karate, taekwondo, and kickboxing.
McLaren believed that Rogan had the perfect combination of wit, attitude, and talent for his role then in the UFC.
"Joe, I believe he’d had a couple of professional kickboxing bouts, he had that Boston tough guy thing. He has was quick on his feet, he had a good sense of humor, and boy, did he drink the Kool-Aid. He came in, and he was very good at making it look like what was happening was not a disaster about to really spin out of control,”
“It was his ability to handle hecklers as much as anything, and thinking on your feet, going with the flow, because you couldn’t map out what was going to happen back then. It was really tough back then, and he was such a great addition. I think Joe’s one of the best announcers in sports. He’s certainly the best podcaster," McLaren concluded."
Joe Rogan's Journey from Backstage Interviewer to Podcast Royalty
Joe Rogan has come a very long way from his humble beginnings as a backstage interviewer at UFC 11.
Rogan would leave the company two years later, only to come back when Dana White - who was the new president of the UFC back then - hired Rogan in exchange for front row tickets.
Rogan would eventually come in as the official commentator and has been the UFC's main color commentator since.
Rogan's stint with the UFC would lead to other big-time projects as the host of the widely-popular tv series Fear Factor.
Now, Rogan is one of the most popular podcasters there is today, with his show The Joe Rogan Experience featuring a wide variety of guests, from fighters, to musicians, to politicians, scientists, and celebrities of all sorts.Published 14 Nov 2020, 08:41 IST