It is almost impossible to imagine the UFC without Joe Rogan as one of the commentators. The organization’s co-creator, Campbell McClaren says that he knew right away that Joe was the man for the job.
McClaren hired Rogan back in 1996, originally in a role doing fighter interviews. At this point Joe was already an established comedian, who even had his own television show. Then shortly after this, Rogan would transition to a role as commentator for the UFC, a position that he has held for more than two decades. He is known just as much for this, as he is for comedy, or podcasting, or even as the host of Fear Factor.
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Campbell McClaren Needed A Comedian
In the early days, when Joe Rogan came aboard, the UFC was still a bit of a circus. Campbell McClaren says that this is exactly why he knew that he needed a comedian like Joe to be the middleman between the sport and it’s new fans. Speaking in a recent interview, the UFC co-creator explained that Rogan’s ability to handle hecklers and improvise, combined with a knowledge of marital arts, made him the perfect choice to be a commentator.
“Joe came in on UFC 11,” McClaren explained. “Even by 11 we still didn’t have a grip on things. It was so unpredictable, and we would run out of fighters, and we were still doing the tournaments, and guys would get hurt. You couldn’t predict anything. We had no idea what was going to happen.
“I had a background in comedy,” McClaren continued. “I knew that a comedian that could handle hecklers would be very right for the UFC because they could handle anything. 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,’ you know? Joe had a couple of professional kickboxing bouts, he had that Boston tough-guy kind of thing, quick on his feet, 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,” McClaren concluded. “It was his ability to handle hecklers as much as anything. 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, I really do. He certainly the best podcaster.”
🔊 "It was really tough back then and he was such a great addition." 🎙️@campbellcombate tells @RyanMcKinnell & @MieshaTate why he hired @joerogan, and explains what makes him so great as a announcer. pic.twitter.com/ol7ufKCvkw
— MMA on SiriusXM (@MMAonSiriusXM) November 13, 2020
The decision by Campbell McClaren to hire Joe Rogan has certainly paid off, as he grew with the promotion and became a valuable asset. While he has slowed down on his commentating in recent years, he is still somewhat synonymous with the company.