Love him or hate him, there’s no denying that Joe Rogan is the biggest star in the UFC commentary booth. The former actor and longtime standup comedian turned his long-running gig with the world’s largest MMA promotion into a podcasting empire that has earned him hundreds of millions of dollars and a worldwide following of fans.
It’s also meant that he does less work than ever for the UFC. A few years back, Joe Rogan trimmed his schedule to only commenting on PPV cards. Not long after that he made the decision to step away from any international events as well. Depending on the promotion’s travel plans any given year, and assuming Rogan doesn’t necessarily make it to every US PPV, that means fans get to hear the man on UFC brodcasts about 10 times annualy.
Given Joe Rogan’s immense popularity, I’d have to imagine that that’s a situation the UFC would love to change if they possibly could. But the man’s got a stack of cash higher than the T-Mobile Arena, there’s no way he’s going to do more work than he wants to.
Then again, maybe he doesn’t have to.
Maybe there’s a way the UFC could get Joe Rogan on more broadcasts, while he’s sitting snug at home with a nice mug of Alpha Brain.
Artificial intelligence has come for Joe Rogan
Rogan recently hit twitter to post something of a cautionary note, “This is going to be very slippery, kids,” he announced, in a quote tweet highlighting the following video:
The video is a ChatGPT facilitated creation, using AI voice synthesizing software, to create a heretofore nonexistent episode of Rogan’s Joe Rogan Experience podcast. Longtime listeners might immediately see the cracks at the edges. Most notably that, at just 51-minutes long, this is pretty puny offering for a JRE episode.
Rogan’s huge volume of work makes him a prime target for AI
Otherwise, while there’s plenty of familiar turns of phrase, and lines of thought, the whole thing is still a bit like imagining Joe Rogan through a funhouse mirror. The diction is slightly stilted, and the conversation tends to wander without creating meaningful points (okay that actually makes it feel more real). But if ever there was someone who would immediately be subject to the whims of AI manipulation, Joe Rogan has to be top of the list.
With thousands upon thousands of hours of recorded audio and video footage, not just as a podcaster, but as a UFC talking head and comedian, and actor, and television host, few people on this planet have so huge a readily-accessible, well-publicized digital media footprint. Celebrities like Rogan are going to become the training grounds upon which AI technology gets refined and honed.
Would the UFC ever actually be able to turn AI tech into a live Joe Rogan commentary feed for their events? They’d probably do better with a tape recorder that just plays “OOOOOOOOOOOOOH!” and “IT’S DEEP!” and, “Hey that takedown might have just stolen the round!?” alongside a low-paid intern. But it’s hard not to think that we won’t soon be hearing artificial versions of Joe Rogan’s shows that are indistinguishable from the real thing.
In the meantime, Rogan should be all set to return to his commentary duties in two weeks time at UFC 288 in Newark, NJ. That card is expected to be headlined by a bantamweight title fight between champion Aljamain Sterling and former two-division champ Henry Cejudo. Until then, fans will just have to go wanting.
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