Whether you love or hate the job he does in the broadcast booth there’s no doubt Joe Rogan is as passionate a fan of Mixed Martial Arts as any person sitting in the crowd or watching on television. As such, the popular comedian occasionally opens himself up to criticism when he is not as objective as some fans might expect when it comes to someone in his role.
The latest example of this came over the weekend at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes when Rogan interviewed referee Mario Yamasaki after disqualifying Erick Silva for landing an illegal blow to the back of opponent Carlo Prater’s head rendering him unable to continue. However, upon further review it appeared Silva’s strikes were on point for the most part and certainly nothing intentional meriting a DQ.
During Rogan’s discussion with Yamasaki he put the veteran official on the spot, publicly disagreeing with his call rather than asking for an explanation and moving on. Rogan went on MMA forum The Underground earlier today where he offered up his side of things after being called out for his actions by fans/media.
“He’s a great guy, and I’m always happy to see him,” wrote Rogan about Yamasaki. “When I step into the Octagon, however, I represent the people watching at home that might have obvious questions, and when something is controversial I’m forced to confront it honestly because that’s what I would want to hear from a person in my position if I was a fan watching it at home.”
“I think Mario Yamasaki is one of the best in the world at refereeing MMA. No doubt about it. He’s got great insight to the sport, he’s a life long martial artist, and he’s a really smart guy,” Rogan continued. “What I was acting from, is that I saw an incredible young talent get denied a KO victory for a questionable call. When I entered into the Octagon and was told of the official ruling that Silva was going to be disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head everyone that I was around who heard the news opened their mouths in shock. Everyone said, ‘What?’”
“The people in the truck couldn’t believe it. I had to read it back to them because I thought it was a mistake, and when I leaned over to explain it to (Mike Goldberg) he couldn’t believe it either,” the longtime color-commentator concluded. “I had to ask Mario about it. I didn’t know how he was going to respond, but I had to ask him. Erick Silva is a very promising fighter and I felt like I had a responsibility to address the issue. No disrespect intended.”
As it turns out the result was so controversial UFC President Dana White ultimately awarded Silva a win bonus despite technically losing the bout. Silva also has the ability to protest the result, a move likely working in his favor where a “No Contest” ruling is concerned as UFC V.P. of Regulatory Affairs Marc Ratner is in charge of making a determination based on the lack of athletic commission in Brazil where the event was held.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC