UFC commentator Joe Rogan is also a successful stand-up comedian and TV personality.
Often times, these occupations — as similar as they might appear — cross paths in the most disastrous of ways. As a comedian, Rogan’s job is to make people laugh. The idea of political correctness on a comedy stage is a joke unto itself.
Rogan is an announcer for the world’s largest MMA promotion, however, so his obligation to the sport and its athletes runs deeper.
So, when Rogan talks about a fighter — who also happens to be black — almost dying in the ring due to eating too much “fried chicken and orange soda,” there is obvious cause for concern.
"Yeah, his heart stopped. It was filled with cheeseburgers and fried chicken and orange soda," Rogan said on his podcast in regards to the Dada 5000 vs. Kimbo Slice fight at Bellator 149 last Friday, according to BloodyElbow.com. "He didn't train. There was no way he trained. I mean, he might have trained for a couple of days. You should have lost 40 pounds before. It's not like you didn't know you were going to do this."
The family of Dada 500 released a statement via Twitter on Tuesday:
Rogan is an informed, diverse and intelligent person. His wildly successful “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast features some of the most revered and respected people in the art, entertainment and science worlds.
And Rogan hangs — intellectually speaking — with them all.
With that in mind, it stands to reason Rogan is completely aware fried chicken and orange soda are both long-standing, racially insensitive stereotypes of black cuisine.
Rogan was wearing his comedy hat at the time of these statements. But as the old saying goes, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
Rogan is the voice of a sport, whether he’s sitting cageside commentating a UFC pay-per-view or doing a post-fight podcast. His voice carries weight, and this type of insensitivity is a saddening blow to the people who enjoy MMA, its athletes, and personalities.
How does Rogan know how long Dada trained? He certainly doesn’t know what he ate. And he definitely doesn’t know if Dada ate loads of fried chicken and drank orange soda. What we do know is a man almost lost his life inside a Bellator cage, and Rogan apparently thinks that’s something to joke about by making silly comments.
Rogan is a respected, progressive individual most times, but in this instance comes off like a short-sighted, unfunny bigot.
Plenty of media, fans and fighters ripped the Dada vs. Kimbo fight while it was happening. It was a terrible fight that deserved to be critiqued and discussed.
Once it was revealed Harris almost died after the fight, the tone quickly shifted. People put away their judgments about the circus-like spectacle Bellator 149 was, and rallied around a man who almost perished for their entertainment.
Well, most people anyway.