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Dana White threatened to resign from UFC in defense of Joe Rogan amid 2022 controversies


Dana White once threatened to resign to save Joe Rogan’s job.

Back in 2022, Rogan came under fire when a video surfaced compiling old episodes of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, where Rogan said the “N-word” several times. This, coupled with claims that Rogan promoted “dangerous misinformation” about COVID-19 on his podcast, put many companies in business with him, including the UFC, under pressure to part ways with Rogan. Ultimately, the whole incident blew over, but when there did seem to be a threat that Joe Rogan might lose his commentary job with the UFC, Dana White stepped in.

Speaking on the Lex Fridman podcast this week, Fridman recounted a story to White about how he was with Rogan when White called Rogan and told the comedian that he would resign if Rogan was ousted.

“Anybody who is with me, has been with me, knows: when you’re with me, you’re with me,” White said. “It’s a two-way street, it’s not a one-way street. I’m not one of these guys that is just going to roll over. It’s like going through COVID, I wasn’t laying any of these people [off] — some of these people have been with me for 20 years, we’re going to lay them off? This motherf***** will burn, burn before I do that to my people.

“It’s just never — none of that type of stuff is going to happen while I’m here. I can’t say what’s going to happen when I leave, but when I’m here, the people who are with me and have been with me, they know exactly what’s up. And Joe knows what’s up. And again it’s a two-way street. Joe Rogan has been very loyal to me, and I am very loyal to Joe Rogan.”

Rogan began working for the UFC in 1997, originally as a backstage and post-fight interviewer, but left the company shortly after. After White and the Fertitta brothers purchased the UFC in 2001, Rogan was eventually brought back, this time as color commentator, a role he continues in to this day. And part of the reason White is so loyal to Rogan is because, according to White, Rogan was instrumental in the success of the Zuffa-led UFC, and remains just as important today.

“Early on, nobody understood the ground game,” White said. “Joe Rogan would walk you through what was happening, literally before it would happen. He would tell you the set-up, what was going to come next, and everything. He absolutely articulated perfectly, brilliantly, and people at home started to understand. The impact that Joe Rogan has had, and continues to have on the sport is immeasurable. He’s the biggest podcaster in the world and he is on the UFC Pay-Per-Views 14 times a year, and he’s always talking about the sport. It’s immeasurable what this guy has done for the company and for the sport.”

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