Dana White went down the middle, addressing the back-and-forth between Stephen A. Smith and Joe Rogan following UFC 246.
The UFC president didn’t criticize either man, opting to explain the differences between the two.
“One of the things when we bought and built the UFC that we always did, being fight fans ourselves. … I’m a huge fight fan,” White told MMA Junkie. “Lorenzo (Fertitta) was a huge fight fan. Joe Rogan is a huge fight fan. One of the things that we hated was on HBO boxing and some other boxing they would do — listen, you’re tuning in and buying the pay-per-view because you love these guys and you respect these fighters, and you’re a fan of the sport. The last thing you want to do is hear somebody ripping them apart.”
Smith had ripped Donald Cerrone for his first-round loss to Conor McGregor, even insinuating he quit. Rogan responded by saying Smith didn’t have the proper perspective.
“It’s not the same thing as a ball going into a hoop. It’s not the same thing as crossing a line with a football,” Rogan said. “It’s different. It’s very intense and very personal, and it’s also very f-king dangerous and to play it off like it’s just a game, I don’t agree with it.”
Smith didn’t appreciate being talked down to.
“You have your right, just like I have my right to respond, as I’m doing right now,” Smith said. “But any time you want to talk to me about this fight, or you want to talk to me about my credentials to discuss something in the world of sports, name the time and place, Joe Rogan, and I’ll show up. It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem at all.”
White understood each side.
“There will be times where I’m pissed off at a guy, and I’ll voice my opinion on what he did or whatever — or if a fight is really bad or somebody did something. What we don’t do is, when a fight is over and a guy loses, we don’t go in and rip them apart. It’s just not our style. We’re fans. We don’t do it,” he said.
“I think Rogan was reacting to that. That’s our philosophy here. For Stephen A. Smith, that’s his thing. That’s what he does. It’s going to happen. You’re always going to have people who have difference in opinions, especially when you have two very opinionated guys like Stephen A. Smith and Joe Rogan.”