Rogan vs. Rampage: In Defense of Joe Rogan

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012 by Tony Reid

Let me start out by stating that Joe Rogan in no way needs me to come to his defense but I would like to add my .02 on the topic of Rampage vs. Rogan. If you are unaware of what I am talking about check out Rampage Jackson’s recent interview with Fighters Only where he talks a little trash about Mr. Rogan. Rampage is upset with what he sees as Rogan ripping a guy (Rampage included) while calling a fight and loving him all up in the post fight interview. In my opinion Rogan is calling it like he, and quite honestly, the rest of the world sees it in stating Rampage’s one dimensional game and the fact that we are all left wanting more out of Mr. Jackson. There is very little debate that Rampage, since coming to the UFC, has been content to stand and bang and do little else. In a sport of so many disciplines that would be the definition of one dimensional.

Rogan hasn’t been any more critical of Rampage than he is any other fighter who’s game is lacking. Generally, if a guy is showing a deficiency in any aspect it is Rogan’s job to point it out. He wasn’t shouting from the rooftops for Quinton to pull off a flying armbar or an omaplata or criticize his lack of rubber guard usage. During the interview in question Rampage states that Rogan will verbally tear a guy apart during the fight and then come in and do the post fight interview, insinuating that Joe is being fake in his passion or enthusiasm during said interview. I don’t agree. Rogan is a huge fan of the sport. How many times, as fans, have we been critical of a guy before, during or even after a fight only to praise them later after a big win? I would wager that happens during pretty much every fight we watch. That’s just the nature of the beast.

I think the bigger issue lies in Quinton being a little sensitive to the thought that he might indeed have become one dimensional in the Octagon. In the same interview he states that he doesn’t like training Jiu Jitsu, that it bores him. He also readily admits that he was never a great wrestler because he got started so late in the sport. So you have to look no further than his own words to find your answer.

Let’s take a look at his fight history since coming to the UFC. In his first appearance in the Octagon at UFC 71 against a lower caliber fighter in Marvin Eastman, Rampage scored his first KO after a long feeling out process that went into the second round. In his next fight against The Iceman himself, Rampage used nothing but standup to knock out the icon that is Chuck Liddell. It obviously worked for him there as he picked up a shiny new belt (amongst many other things in his life) for his efforts. Then things got a little iffy. His fight to unify the PRIDE and UFC Light Heavyweight straps against Dan Henderson at UFC 75 was a bit lackluster, with most of the fight standing. We all were expecting fireworks but nada. Rampage picks up the decision win here after 25 minutes of action. In his first, er, second title defense against Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 he literally stood in front of Griffin for 25 minutes as Forrest kicked Rampage’s legs into next week, Forrest was bending his legs like Beckham, Forrest kicked his legs so hard his momma had a limp, Forrest…Sorry. This outing and lack of gameplan (other than keeping it standing) led to him losing the title in a decision that went Forrest’s way. He picked up a great KO win in somewhat of a payback/grudge match against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92. Following that he took on glass jawed Keith Jardine at UFC 96 but couldn’t finish “The Dean of Dream” before the final bell sounded but picked up a decision win. He then fought his arch nemesis Rashad Evans in a title eliminator of sorts at UFC 114. Rampage got caught early and then spent most of the rest of the fight being taken down and controlled by Evans. Evidence of a ground game you ask? Not so much. Following that loss he took on Lyoto Machida at UFC 123 and picked up a controversial split decision after three rounds of “action”. Next he faced wrestler Matt Hamill, who he beat standing and defended all of The Hammer’s takedown attempts to pick up a unanimous decision. So again, the fight basically stayed standing the entire time because Hamill could not secure a takedown and because Rampage is one dimensional. In his most recent fight he took on Jon Jones and lost via rear naked choke in round four, being submitted for the first time in his UFC career. So all in all I would say he has had great success when standing up and no success otherwise. Is this one dimensional? I think you know the answer.

In fairness to Rampage on the topic of him “calling out” Rogan I would give him a pass on that specific question and answer. He was asked flat out by the interviewer how a fight would go down between him and Joe. Of course with Rampage being Rampage you can expect to get the answer he gave. He would kick Joe’s ass. Beyond that he actually gave Rogan respect saying that if the fight went to the ground Rogan is outstanding. What an ironic statement, considering the question at hand. So I don’t have an issue with him there. In return Rogan, on the UG, said most definitely Rampage would kick his ass and also that he is a fan of Rampage as well. Joe Rogan is the best announcer in MMA, hands down. His knowledge of the sport is right up there with anyone you can find anywhere. His personality and passion for the sport is unmatched. He brings so much to the broadcast that you would be hard pressed, or it might even be damn near impossible, to find someone that brings a uniquely special set of skills that he brings to each time out. I don’t think he has been unfair in his commentary of Rampage Jackson in any way. Rampage Jackson might just be a little defensive and sensitive when it comes to this topic because he sees what the rest of us see, whether it’s Joe Rogan that brings it to our attention or the guy sitting next to us at the bar.