Joe Rogan will return to the UFC in his role as a color commentator at UFC 258 on February 13th, 2021.
The longtime UFC commentator, MMA analyst, and combat sports personality has had a reduced work schedule over the past few years. Back in 2016, during the UFC’s $4 billion-dollar sale to WME-IMG, the MMA world was rife with speculation about Rogan potentially parting ways with the UFC.
Although Joe Rogan didn’t leave the UFC at the time, around the time the sale transpired in 2016, Rogan decided to start working a reduced schedule in the commentary booth. The biggest change that came about in Rogan’s UFC commentary role was that he stopped working UFC events that took place outside North America.
Joe Rogan, COVID-19, and 2020
Coming to the fore in late 2019 and exploding in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc in the United States of America as well as other parts of the world. The UFC was resultantly coerced to find a safe location to organize its events.
It was around this time that UFC president Dana White and the organizational higher-ups decided to start organizing events on UFC Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Many UFC events throughout the 2020 calendar year took place outside North America, on Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE. Resultantly, Joe Rogan was missing from the commentary booth for most of 2020.
Jon Anik praises Joe Rogan ahead of Rogan’s return at UFC 258
On that note, some of Rogan’s detractors have been questioning the popular UFC mainstay’s commitment to his commentary job as of late.
Addressing the aforementioned criticism, Joe Rogan’s colleague, play-by-play commentator Jon Anik, revealed that Rogan isn’t leaving anytime soon. On an edition of MMA Fighting’s What The Heck, Anik stated:
“I can assure you that he ain’t going nowhere…Again, I hate to put words in his mouth, but he absolutely loves this job and I think we had a little international flare with the pay-per-views at the end of the year – UFC 251, 253, 254 – that he wasn’t a part of because they were happening in Abu Dhabi. But hopefully domestic pay-per-views return more so in 2021 and he gets a chance to get back out there more often.”
“It’s not that easy stepping up every eight weeks trying to do one of these things, and constantly having a revolving door with the broadcast team, but I love the guy. I’ve never been closer with the guy and hopefully he’s here well past me.” (*Quotes courtesy: What The Heck; H/T MMA Fighting for the transcription)
Furthermore, Jon Anik explained that he’s used to working in a three-man commentary booth. Joe Rogan, on the other hand, worked a two-man booth with Mike Goldberg for many years in the UFC. Anik suggested that the dynamics in both booths are completely different, besides also asserting that he, Rogan, and everyone else on the commentary team are constantly striving to improve.
Moreover, Anik reiterated that he’s looking forward to working with Joe Rogan again. Rogan will return to the commentary booth at UFC 258 (February 13th, 2021) at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
After Khabib, Conor and Jon Jones, it's Islam, O'Malley and Izzy. Follow them here!