One of the talked-about side stories for this past weekend’s UFC 271 PPV event was the absence of Joe Rogan. The long-time color commentator reportedly had a “scheduling conflict,” which UFC president Dana White later called BS on.
Stepping in for Rogan is former middleweight champion and UFC Hall-of-Famer Michael Bisping, who’s been a fixture at the broadcast booth for non-PPV events. In his recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s Fighter vs. Writer, “The Count” revealed receiving backlash for his commentary work, particularly for the headliner between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker.
“Saturday night after the commentary, there was a slew of abuse, shall we say, but I didn’t take it too to heart,” Bisping said. “I wasn’t going to go and kill myself or jump off a bridge as many people were telling me to do.
“I do stand by a lot of what I said. I thought the fight was very close. I thought Robert Whittaker was just a smidge behind most of the rounds. My point that I was making, I wasn’t being critical of Robert Whittaker but the reality is those rounds that he lost, they were so close but they were still going to go down as losses.
“He didn’t put all his hard work in to come to Houston to lose. So if he wants to win this fight, my advice is to start throwing the right hand more, do this, do that.
“Izzy, for my opinion, was doing enough to win and he was going to win and it comes out I was correct,” he added. “The judges saw it pretty much the way I saw it. So I guess I’m validated. But fortunately, it wasn’t the same judge that judged the Roxanne Modafferi fight.”
As for Rogan, Bisping says the 54-year-old comedian and media personality was nonetheless well-received by fans in attendance despite his recent controversies. He is also befuddled by all the Rogan hate, particularly in terms of commentary work.
“I see it all the time, people are always talking shit about Joe Rogan,” Bisping said. “I’m like what are you talking about? No. 1, he is the godfather of the UFC or MMA commentary. He really is. He’s the guy that almost essentially started the job if you will. He’s been doing it forever.
“The big fights don’t feel like the big fights without Joe Rogan. You know you’re on a pay-per-view, you know it’s a special night when Joe is on the microphone.
“I think his insights are fantastic. He knows what he’s talking about. I think he has a way with words that he’s absolutely fascinating with the way he strings together and structures his sentences. That’s why he’s got the biggest podcast in the world.
“The man’s a good talker,” he added. “He knows what he’s doing. He knows the sport and I find some of his takes absolutely fascinating. It just wouldn’t be the same without Joe Rogan. It was always hard shoes for me to fill.”
Rogan is expected to be back in the broadcast booth for UFC 272, which happens on March 5th in Las Vegas.
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