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Dana White opens up on how he hired Joe Rogan to work for the UFC for free initially

Dana White opens up on how he hired Joe Rogan to work for the UFC for free initially

The well known commentator worked his first dozen UFC events for not a single penny and White has explained how this happened

Joe Rogan is one of the voices of the UFC with an instantly recognisable tone which any fan of the sport will immediately know - and he even worked his first shows for the brand for not a single penny.

Dana White is UFC president and became it when the company was bought back in 2001 for $2m - a drop in the ocean compared to the estimated $9bn to $10bn it was worth in 2022 and it is testament to how it has grown over the past two decades.

Rogan became friends with White after the latter became UFC president and, not long after this, the TV host was offered a job to be the sport's colour commentator - but with a catch.

Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta bought the UFC along with White in 2001, but in the early days, the company was not the lucrative worldwide brand it is now.

In fact, the UFC was losing significant amounts of money in the early days of its current ownership, and it meant White had to go to some drastic moves in order to save spending money.

Speaking to the Games with Names podcast, White explained how he managed to get Rogan to work his first dozen or so UFC shows for free as the company battled to reverse a near-$40m red hole in its finances as options were sought to minimise expenses and turn around its fortunes.

UFC president Dana White and colour commentator Joe Rogan. (

White said: "I 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.

"If you look at where the UFC was at that time, we were losing money like crazy.

"We bought it 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*** yeah, I’ll come there and do it and sit in the best seats in the house,’ and everything else.

"Joe and I have been super close friends for a very long time. I would do anything for Joe Rogan."

Featured Image Credit: Getty/Games with Names podcast/Youtube

Topics: UFC, Dana White, Joe Rogan