Fire Joe Rogan

Note: due to its subject matter, this column contains language that many readers, as well as the author, consider offensive.

Update: SC's Joshua Duffy response to this column: Joe Rogan, Bad Words, and a Fractured Culture

Joe Rogan is the best color commentator in MMA. I know some people prefer Bas Rutten or Pat Miletich, but Rogan is my favorite. The UFC should suspend or fire him.

Rogan has never been someone who plays by the rules, and that's part of his appeal. But in recent months, Rogan has called fellow MMA journalist Tomas Ríos a faggot, and fellow MMA journalist Maggie Hendricks "cunty". The UFC, which employs Rogan on its broadcasts, so far doesn't seem to feel this is a problem.

Pardon me for stating the obvious, but those are two of the most offensive terms in the English language, with a long and ugly history of violence attached to them. This isn't just "sticks and stones" — those words are slurs targeted at two historically oppressed communities: women and gay men. I hate to pull the role model card, but a lot of people look up to Rogan, and I shudder to think how many posters on the UG have now incorporated “cunty” into their vocabularies.

To call a woman any derivative of the word cunt is to condone and perpetuate a term long associated with misogyny, legal oppression, and sexual assault. Few words are truly powerful today, but that is one of them, probably the most shocking word in the English language. I guess the UFC should just be glad Maggie isn’t black.

If something like this happened in a mainstream sport ... calling someone a faggot you can get away with, if your apology is good enough. Rogan's “apology” involved calling Ríos a cocksucker. Seriously. Maybe that's funny if you have a warped sense of humor, but it's definitely not a compassionate or professional response from a grown man who's old enough to know better.

It's the latter concern — professionalism — that's most at issue right now. You can get away with calling someone a faggot, if your apology is good enough. But calling a female reporter cunty? No way. Absolutely not. That gets a player suspended, a coach fired, and an announcer banned for life.

But that's in real sports. For all that we talk about mixed martial arts being the fastest-growing sport in the world, it doesn't attract a fraction of the coverage that football or baseball get. It's comparable more to MLS, or women's golf. MMA isn't on network television, and it's not on the front page of the sports section. Mixed martial arts is a great sport. But if the UFC wants to be taken seriously and reach its full potential, it needs to start acting like the grown-ups. Ironically, it would be a good sign for MMA if Rogan’s gay-baiting and woman-bashing were a bigger deal.

In its infancy, the UFC benefitted from its own outrageousness. But by now, the people who are drawn in by that sort of thing know about MMA. If the sport is to reach a wider audience, its executives can't condone the kind of hate language Rogan has been using. Again, let's not sugar-coat this or make excuses. There's a difference between calling someone an asshole and a faggot. One is mean and crude, but the other has a long association with hatred and violence, from schoolyard bullying to murder.

There’s a difference between calling someone a douchebag and calling a woman a cunt. The second word has a long history of association with rape and repression. Those words are powerful, and that’s why Rogan chose them. Those terms are demeaning and threatening in a way that normal insults aren’t. That’s why most of us consider them unacceptable. And that’s why the UFC can’t tolerate this kind of behavior from someone who represents the company.

At the very least, the UFC should suspend Rogan. UFC President Dana White should sit him down and say, "Joe, I appreciate you sticking up for us and our fighters, but this kind of thing doesn't help anybody. We're trying to get MMA licensed in New York. We're negotiating a new TV deal for The Ultimate Fighter. This whole thing with Strikeforce and Showtime still needs to be settled. We're just starting to get mainstream sports coverage, and if it looks like we accept this kind of language, that really sets back our cause. I don't think you're a bad guy, but we have to act on this thing. Take the next few events off, come back for the show in Rio, and go easy on the really serious slurs.”

With White speaking, I’m sure there would be a lot more cussing in there, and probably a few more verbal bro-hugs, but something to that effect gets the idea across. Rogan is a smart guy, and he genuinely loves the sport. He’ll understand White’s position. I’m sure that Rogan wants MMA in New York, and on network television, and wants what’s good for the sport. If that means not breaking out George Carlin's seven dirty words every time someone disagrees with him, he’ll rein things in. And that’s not just good for MMA; it’s good for everyone.

Comments and Conversation

June 7, 2011

Juan Anaya:

Serious get alife u hear whey worse words, ur just a cunty, Faggot get me fired homo!!! What the hell happen with freedom of speech!!

June 7, 2011

Mr White:

Stop being such a cunty faggot.
Get over yourself, what are you going to do when you have a real problem in life?
Cry like a baby and make a blog about it?
hmmm
Why are sports writers the biggest pussies on the planet?
Lmao Time to man up and stop being so weak and pathetic.

June 7, 2011

Maggie Hendricks:

There are no such things as “bad” or “offensive” words. It’s as George Carlin said, all about intent.

In Australia, New Zealand and the UK men call each other cunts all the time.

In the US and Canada men call each other bitches.

All in all, words such as bitch and cunt are now used toward men more than toward women.

If you are offended by words, then you are either stupid or a liar. You must have no real problems in life if you are getting upset about words which are nothing more than sounds that humans have made up and utter.

Oh, and Brad Oremland is a cunty faggot.

June 7, 2011

Joshua Duffy:

Can’t say I necessarily agree, but kudos for the column. You had to know you’d get some heat.

As for Rogan, he’s been consistent through his entire stand up career. He’s brash, uses bad words and loves to smoke pot. And he has been a key ingredient in the UFC’s rise. It’s not baseball or football. It’s a sport where the goal is to hurt the other guy as much as possible. The bloodier the better. It’s a different culture, and you can’t judge the behavior within that culture through traditional moral codes.

June 7, 2011

Cunty McCuntington:

Get fucked, bitchtits.

June 7, 2011

Fugly Hendricks:

Great job giving your crappy .org site some temporary traffic with sensationalism. After this story blows over, you’ll be back to writing boring sports articles NOBODY will read. YAY!

June 7, 2011

Brad Oremland is jealous.:

No one cares. Get over it.

June 7, 2011

David:

Sad that this is getting this much attention. It’s a message board! It also appears you know nothing about Joe Rogan, his comedy style or his way of thinking. Do us all a favor.

Stop.
Smoke a joint ( I recommend “trainreck”)
Look in to a telescope.
Think about why you were so mad.
Repeat.

June 7, 2011

Brad Oremland:

It’s always nice to get thought-provoking feedback from readers. I’m not “mad” at Rogan per sé. Do I think it was appropriate for him to use the terms he did? Obviously not. But it’s not like I hate Joe Rogan now. I still like him as a commentator. The Ríos thing was a while ago; I’m not comfortable with it, but I can watch a UFC event without dwelling on it or anything.

The problem is that Rogan didn’t make these comments as a comedian. Rogan is a UFC employee, and he represents the UFC when he talks about MMA. His use of offensive language sets back the whole sport. If we want this sport to be taken seriously, we need to act like grown-ups.

June 8, 2011

Karim:

terrible article dude, what did joe do to you?

June 8, 2011

Ben:

This is a ridiculous article. You’re concerned with semantics instead of intention. The best I can tell, you’re either A) trying to get laid, or B) white-knighting yourself to get a few pats on the back from gay dudes.

Try again… and be a bit less of a cunt.

June 8, 2011

Mike:

What a ridiculous article.

The man had an opinion and he said what he did on his own time.

Perhaps you should get out of your sheltered morality bubble and visit another country, perhaps the one where the English language was created, and you’d realize that not everyone gives this much power to a word.

Fuck we might as well tear up the first amendment if people aren’t allowed to say certain words.

Get of your high horse Brad. I’m willing to bet my life you’ve done things more deplorable than calling somebody a cunt one of which was writing this piece of shit article calling for somebody to lose their job.

June 8, 2011

ray:

Are you getting some kind of lifetime feminist award for writing this? Aren’t you a sports writer?
Did your wife put you up to this?

June 8, 2011

Matt:

You are way too late to jump on this wagon. There were plenty of articles about it last week but you just have to be a cunty faggot and try to get more readers on your shitty site. You see everyone discussing this and think, “Hey, I could just copy that article and everyone will talk about me.” GTFO
And also, I was using cunty before it was popular.

June 8, 2011

Hemmer:

Wtf…

June 8, 2011

Sneaky johnson:

I hope no one is paying you to write shit like this. Lifetime ban for a commentator who makes certain noises with his voice? Sounds like you need to step back for some critical self evaluation. Anyone who allows words to affect them like you do is a pathetically weak individual. Demanding an apology is like demanding a dick in your asshole you queer

June 8, 2011

Cunty McFaggot:

That is all.

June 8, 2011

pure nonsense:

I sincerely hope that this sensationalist article where you’re calling to get a person fired for expressing their opinion causes you to lose your job. I want your ability to provide for yourself and your family completely revoked simply because I do not agree with your opinion or how you expressed it. Sounds silly right?

Here’s the deal. Words do not have any meaning besides what we personally choose to give them. No one can offend you with language unless you allow yourself to be offended. So why don’t you chose to act like an adult and not try to call the teacher when someone else says a naughty word. Calling for someone to be fired over the language they used while not even on the clock? Really?

If you’re serious about any of this then I hope whatever ill will you wish on Rogan for expressing his opinion happens to you 10 fold. I think that would be best for everyone.

June 8, 2011

Matt L:

Only offensive by your perception of the meaning, IMO your article is being ‘cunty’ yet doesn’t necessarily make you a cunt, same as acting like a faggot doesn’t make you ‘homosexual’.

Get a grip, Joe expresses his opinions in ways others do not doesn’t make it a character assasination.

June 8, 2011

Betty O'Neil:

I am a fan of Joe Rogan and other than being a hilarious comedian and UFC commentator he is also an extremely intellectual person. There was this discussion on his podcast yesterday about the power of words and how we, usually place the power on the supposed intent.

I mean, this article is pretty ridiculous. I am a woman, I am a scholar of English Literature and Women’s Studies and I actually found your rationalisations of the word “cunt” insulting.

“The second word has a long history of association with rape and repression.” What exactly is your source on that, “Cunt” is a repressive word yes, but an association with rape? I’ve never heard that and a majority of my studies deals with women’s sexuality and sexual assault.

Personally, I have no issues with the word cunt/cunty. As others have noted, it is used all the time in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, so this is mainly a North American stigma. I’ve been called a cunt before? Yes. I just brush it off because over-reacting to a word is just ridiculous, there are more important things in the world to worry about. Many feminist women are taking the word back and using it themselves. Some people (male or female) are just cunts, simple as that.

June 8, 2011

Ron:

Stop with the bullshit!!! Dana White called Loretta Hunt every name in the book and nothing happened to him. Leave Joe alone and quit sweating him!!!!!!!

June 8, 2011

Some Guy:

People like you are ruining society. My statement is not hyperbole.

Also, people need to stop writing these faux outrage pieces where they say “if things were different…”. Guess what, this isn’t baseball. Things aren’t different. They are what they are.

ALSO, get your facts straight. You say in your comment (not the original post), “Rogan is a UFC employee”. If you had bothered to read DFW (this name alone should tell you how misplaced your faux outrage is)’s official response, and allow me to now do your job for you, you would’ve seen it started with, “Joe Rogan is an independent contractor”.

So either you are woefully unqualified to comment on this issue as you don’t even know the facts or you are intentionally misleading ppl to support your totally unsubstantive argument. You should cut your losses by taking this article down and issue an apology to everyone who wasted their time reading any part of it. Maybe, just maybe, someone will read something you write in the future for some reason other than to decry it.

June 8, 2011

Justin:

UFC should also ban going to England, because they use that word all the time..

Words don’t have that much fucking power over us! People going on this are just looking for a story.

June 8, 2011

Brad:

Haha your a cunty faggot Brad Oremland… People use this language in the real world and far worse.

June 8, 2011

GOD:

Brad Oremland, someone should suspend or fire him for being a cocksucking cunty faggot with no balls.

June 8, 2011

Brurd Mrormeuleuuund:

“To call a woman any derivative of the word cunt is to condone and perpetuate a term long associated with misogyny, legal oppression, and sexual assault. Few words are truly powerful today, but that is one of them, probably the most shocking word in the English language. I guess the UFC should just be glad Maggie isn’t black.”

Lighten up you cunt. By the way did you realize that no one gives a good fuck what you think should be done, least of all the UFC?

PS: if you think the historical treatment of women and gays is in any way comparable to what was done to the black race, you need to be tied to a tree and whipped until you bleed to death.

PPS: MMA is more than all your pathetically boring mainstream sports put together, that’s why you can’t get enough of it, you dirty little faggot cunt.

June 8, 2011

Jeff:

Brad,

Great article. It seems you’ve opened up a can of worms, a can filled with people slamming you with the very words you correctly argued as offensive. Talk about UFC “unleashed.”

I think the fact that Rogan hasn’t faced any discipline is in part due to the reason (while arguable) that mixed martial arts, while hugely popular and still growing, is still very much a “fringe” sport. A commentator for any other sport would have been gone already. And I don’t think anyone is surprised by the words coming out of Rogan’s mouth. Dana White’s not the most PC guy in the world, but in his eyes, it was expected, therefore not punishable.

Rogan’s a comedian, and comedians denounce their hecklers (to their faces) with the most offensive language possible. In that context, it’s funny. But not here.

By the way, we all loved Rogan on “Fear Factor.”

June 8, 2011

Fred:

The person who wrote this article is a retarded cunt. Go back to college, faggot.

June 8, 2011

Chris Stinson:

If you are offended by the word ‘Cunty’, then I hope you understand the irony that YOU are being CUNTY. I sincerely hope you are offended by the word ‘Cunty’. Because it makes it that much sweeter when I tell you, you are being cunty.

June 8, 2011

Dave Rowlands:

I’m from and live in Liverpool, England. It’s 23:14 and I’ve been called the following today:

Cheeky cunt
Funny cunt

Both in a pleasant way as well! I’m also pleased to report I haven’t fainted from the sheer terror of this word! You’d be surprised how many people say it with affection here! Here, it is the equivalent of Americans saying “mother fucker”.

So please, stop butchering the English language by demonising a word because you’re unhappy.

And you know what? The people who are offended with cunty, are probably who ones who are the cuntiest of us all. Have a listen to Joe and Redbans podcast. Maybe even choose one of episodes with Joey Diaz or Duncan Trussell and get some education. You cunty bitch.

All the best from England (the creators of the cuntin language!)

I am shocked that you find the word “cunt” so offensive.

June 8, 2011

Dave Rowlands:

Oh by the way. The whole race thing? Let me give you some advice.

1. Go to the bathroom

2. Take a good look in the mirror

3. Give your head a wobble

4. And have a good, long talk with yourself.

If that doesn’t work. Get some weed and shrooms. Then repeat till you’re cured…..

June 8, 2011

igor andropov:

sickening. what a low form of human being; a true untermensch if i have ever seen one. degenerate scum. you are everything that is wrong with western civilization and if i had my way you would be drawn and quartered on live television for all to see.

June 8, 2011

mm:

You’re ridiculous and way too politically correct. You are a faggot. And I don’t mean gay.

June 8, 2011

mm:

I say fire you for being such a cunty whiny asshat and anyone that is “offended” by a word is lucky they don’t have real problems.

Why don’t we worry about people’s actions and not harmless words.

Also, stop being such a fucking baby.

June 8, 2011

Dreamland:

Brad Oremland.. Your a sad fucking cunt with no sense of what the internet is.You sad pathetic pile of shit.. I hope you fall on your face from getting a Bonner from trying to ruin someone’s job.


June 8, 2011

trey:

Gawd…. your an idiot!

June 9, 2011

Mike:

I’m sick to death of Rogan using the term ‘cunty’; I much prefer ‘cuntish’.
Rogan, in future please call that bitches actions ‘cuntish’ and the faggot that wrote this heap of steaming shite a ‘wanker’. I feel that would be a far more detailed and more accurate way to describe them.
Legend!

June 9, 2011

Redban:

I agree, Rogan’s a cock!

June 9, 2011

Joe Rogan:

Brad, you’re a prized cunt!

Redban, you’re sacked!

June 9, 2011

Christian H:

“The second word has a long history of association with rape and repression. “

No, it has a very short history, starting around the same time as this article’s timestamp.

What does have a long history is media organizations only employing attractive women to appear on camera. What has a shorter history is having those women sent to ultra-testosterone-fueled sports events to have them interact with said competitors.

The interactions they encounter and the fake-shock complaints this generates would only be worth comment if they were in any way unexpected.

I heard Rogan explain why he dislikes this reporter, citing a specific instance of her coverage. I think she has equal grounds to be sacked for that. Most notably because of how ridiculous the conversation would be where it could be argued she has any place offering such commentary.

June 12, 2011

Brad Oremland:

Mixed in among the (very clever) “Cunty Faggot” comments are a few that are interesting enough that I’d like to respond.

@the aptly named pure nonsense: Announcing UFC events is hardly Rogan’s only source of income. He’s not in any danger at all of not being able to provide for his family. What’s more, if Rogan was fired by the UFC, someone else would get his job, and could thereby provide for some other family. Also worth noting that I went into some depth on the possibility of a suspension rather than a termination.

@Betty: the word ‘cunt’ reduces a woman to her sexual organs. If you have the background you claim, I’m sure you’re aware of the long history of treating women as objects to be used at men’s pleasure rather than as human beings worthy of respect.

@Some Guy: Don’t be foolish. Sure, Joe Rogan is an “independent contractor” who the UFC just happens to hire every time they put on an event. The thought that you might not be joking when you write that asking people to treat others respectfully is “ruining society” is horrifying. Civil disagreement is what keeps minor problems from escalating. Respect for other people is the beginning of civilization, not the end of it.

@Brurd Mrormeuleuuund: Nice name. I would never, ever want to trivialize racism, or the many and ongoing injustices against people of African descent. But if you think the history of discrimination and violence by whites against blacks comes anywhere close to the millennia-long history of discrimination and violence by men against women, you’re incredibly misinformed.

@Jeff: Thanks for the comment. Absolute agreement with regard to the “fringe” sport thing being why this hasn’t gotten more attention. Can you imagine if Joe Buck did this? We’d finally be rid of him.

@Dreamland: I’m actually really curious whether you meant “Boner” (as in hard-on) or “Bonnar” (as in Stephan).

@Mike: Okay, that’s funny.

@Christian H: Okay, so Rogan doesn’t like Maggie’s writing, and Ríos was wrong. I was about 12 when I stopped calling people names just because I disagreed with them. Rogan is 43. He should know how to express civil disagreement with a colleague by this point.

June 13, 2011

joe fan:

I love cuntygate 2011!

June 14, 2011

It comes down to the law...:

It all comes down to the law in the end, and as long as it wasn’t said on broadcast and he’s not promoting the use of these words, then he’s allowed to exercise his right to Freedom of Speech.

Apparently you’ve never listened to a rap album.

June 15, 2011

Brad Oremland:

The law? No one is suggesting that Rogan should be arrested.

June 16, 2011

anthony trezza:

Get a life Mr. Oremland.
Typical attempt by a no talent to ride a star’s coat tails.
Joe Rogan nor the UFC should apologize to anyone.
Get a sense of humor!

June 16, 2011

anth:

Joshua Duffy,
Are you serious? A different culture that should be judged by seperate moral codes? Who the hell are you talking about? What do you think MMA is The Roman Colliseum?
That’s probably the least insightful comment I’ve heard this year lol.

June 18, 2011

Per:

“I hate to pull the role model card”

Really?

June 26, 2011

george:

Have you heard Dana ‘Fucking’ White speak? I don’t think you understand… they can get away with this because the fans approve! Joe Rogan could call people bitches and pussies and faggots ON AIR (like if a fighter wasn’t engaging or something) and the fans would probably be MORE entertained. Rogan used the term ‘rape choke’ on air… we were entertained… ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???

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