Dana White Reveals Joe Rogan Worked For Free At The Start Of UFC Career

Dana White Reveals Joe Rogan Worked For Free At The Start Of UFC Career

In the early days of the UFC’s new era, following its acquisition by Dana White and the Fertitta brothers for $2 million, the organization faced the colossal task of overhauling a struggling enterprise.

This overhaul included enhancing the production quality of future broadcasts – which meant getting someone to call fights…
Someone, who was both talented and passionate about fighting. And, well, Dana White decided to go for Joe Rogan.

White explained how that came to be:

I knew Joe Rogan from Fear Factor because I would watch on TV.
Joe Rogan was talking about how badass UFC fighters were and what they would really do to these karate guys that were in movies and s*it like that.

I was, like: ‘This guy knows what he’s talking about. He’s smart, he’s funny, he’s articulate.”

Before we bought the company, he worked for a little while for the UFC.
He was a backstage interviewer, but I didn’t even know that when I saw the video tape of him.

He then reached out to Rogan:

At that time, I think it was on the internet, I reached out to him and we started talking, and I asked if he would like to work for us and be a commentator.

It wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine, however…
As Rogan accepted to do the first few shows for free:

We bought it (UFC) for $2 million, which sounds like a great story now.
We ended up being almost $40 million in the hole before we turned it around.

But Joe Rogan did the first 12 or 13 shows for free.
He said: “F*ck yeah, I’ll come there and do it and sit in the best seats in the house”, and everything else.