UFC superstar and current Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya — who is headlining this Saturday’s UFC 271 fight card — defended Joe Rogan during a pre-fight press conference on Thursday. “Joe Rogan is one of the nicest, coolest, humble mother f****** I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Adesanya said to thunderous applause from a Houston crowd. “F**k the noise man, you know what they’re trying to do, you can’t control them man, and he’s got the biggest platform in the world right now,” he continued.
— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) February 11, 2022
The reporter’s question regarding Adesanya’s thoughts on a recently released video compilation of Rogan saying the n-word was met with loud boos from the crowd. Adesanya’s answers in defense of Rogan were met with cheers, however. The middleweight champ recently signed a lucrative contract extension with the UFC that will make him one of the sport’s highest earners.
Adesanya is not the only UFC star standing behind Rogan, as dozens of others have expressed similar opinions. “Almost every fighter is speaking out on Joe’s behalf so it’s good seeing we stick together,” said former Strikeforce champion and longtime UFC veteran Jake Shields. “He’s obviously not a fighter but we respect him as one of [our] own.”
“I’ll take Joe Rogan over all these bozos!” said former UFC champion Frankie Edgar. Other fighters who have expressed support for Rogan include Ben Askren, Marlon Vera, and Tim Sylvia. “What a puss,” Sylvia wrote in a tweet after Dwayne “the rock” Johnson denounced Rogan and withdrew his previous support.
I’ll take Joe Rogan over all these bozos!
— Frankie Edgar (@FrankieEdgar) February 5, 2022
If they can cancel Joe they can cancel anyone. Time to stand up people.
— Funky (@Benaskren) February 5, 2022
After initially being announced as a member of the UFC 271 commentary team, the UFC said Rogan would no longer be covering the event in a statement on Friday, citing a scheduling conflict. The UFC told MMAFighting that Rogan will be back in the booth for UFC 272.
Rogan has been the subject of a weeks-long cancel campaign in which left-wing extremists have called for Spotify to remove his show, initially citing “COVID-19 misinformation” before pivoting to racism after the former narrative failed to take root. The streaming platform responded by condemning Rogan’s “hurtful language” and removing over 100 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience. Spotify CEO David Ek said Rogan’s podcast would not be cancelled, however, while YouTube competitor Rumble offered Rogan $100 million to leave Spotify and join their platform.