Joe Rogan has been calling mixed martial arts fights for the better part of two decades, in addition to his own octagon experiences and the numerous television and podcast spots he's had in the same time span.
The guy knows his way around the microphone.
Which is what makes his interview with Daniel Cormier on Saturday night all the more upsetting to the armchair fight fans who saw what had happened to Cormier at the hands and feet of Jon Jones in their headlining UFC Light Heavyweight title tilt.
Referee John McCarthy was extremely to slow to stop the fight, and that certainly could have been a factor in Cormier ending up being concussed. Yet after Rogan interviewed Jones, he also mysteriously asked the dazed Cormier for his thoughts – this went totally against Rogan's self-imposed policy of not talking to fighters who get knocked out immediately afterward.
“I don’t know man,” said Cormier, who was diagnosed with a concussion minutes later. “I thought the fight was going well. I really don’t know what happened. I guess I got kicked in the head.”
Javier Mendez is Cormier's coach and was very upset with Rogan conducting the interview to begin with; according to USA Today, Mendez said Rogan figured out pretty quickly that Cormier didn't have it all together when he started talking to him.
“I am pretty sure he didn’t know DC had a concussion (before the interview began),” Mendez said. “I'm sure it was after (the interview started) is when he realized DC was not (all) there.”
For his part, Rogan took to his social media outlets Saturday night and Sunday morning and expressed his remorse.
“My apologies to D.C.,” Rogan said. “And to everyone else upset at me for interviewing him after the fight. In all honestly I was kind of in shock and I don't think I realized what I was doing until I had a mic in my hand and I was talking to him. I've said that I don't want to interview fighters after they've been KO'ed and then I did it to someone that I care a great deal about. It was 100% my (mess) up and no one pressured me to do it...
“I was beating myself up about it all night, and whenever something like that happens it's always my sincere intention to apologize and express my honest feelings. It'll never happen again.”
I'm extremely wary of using or hearing the words “always” or “never” but with Rogan having had extensive experience inside the octagon after literally more than a thousand fights, I'm willing to give him a mulligan here. The raw emotion afterward made it easy for him – and anyone else – to get caught up in what was going on and temporarily misplace his better judgment.
The vitriol spewed between Jones and Cormier for the last two-and-a-half years seemed very real. Jones seemed genuinely appreciative of how Cormier handled being the champion; Rogan clearly seemed caught up in all of fanfare shortly thereafter.
“I want to take this time to thank Daniel Cormier for being my biggest rival and motivator,” Jones said, to great roars from the Honda Center crowd in Anaheim. “He has been a model champion, a model husband, a model father, a teammate, a leader and I aspire to be a lot more like that man because he's an amazing human being... He's a true champion for the rest of his life.”
This brought Rogan to conclude the interview with “congratulations, Jon. I hope your life from now on is nothing but good.”
Shortly thereafter, Rogan made the ill-advised decision to talk with Cormier.