Joe Rogan wasn’t down to do socially distant interviews with fighters at UFC 249.
Before Saturday night’s event, UFC executive vice president of operation and production Craig Borsari spoke with ESPN and explained the unique security measures being taken to keep fighters safe which included the elimination of postfight interviews in the cage.
Borsari told ESPN on Tuesday that members of the broadcast team will be sitting at separate tables away from one another, that post-fight interviews will not take place in the Octagon and that all crew members will wear personal protective equipment, including N95 masks and gloves. Sources told ESPN that officials are also working out details about disinfecting the cage between fights.
The broadcast team will be made up of play-by-play announcer Jon Anik and color commentators Joe Rogan and Daniel Cormier. On a normal UFC show, Rogan would interview the winner of most fights inside the Octagon at the conclusion of the bout. On Saturday, the winning fighter will be guided to an isolated area outside the cage and given a sanitized headset, and Rogan will interview him or her from his cageside location.
Despite Borsari’s orders, Rogan went on to conduct postfight interviews in the Octagon and was even seen shaking fighters’ hands after fights.
After the event, Rogan admitted that he threw a fit when he learned that they didn’t want him to conduct interviews in the Octagon with fighters and eventually talked the UFC into allowing him inside the cage for the postfight interview.
Joe Rogan: At least they let me do the postfight interviews in the octagon, they were going to make me do it from two yards.
Daniel Cormier: You threw a fit before the show. This is insane we were all tested. We were all clean
Joe Rogan: Everyone’s been tested and they wanted me to interview fighters from like 50 feet away and I was like I can’t, I want to see them, I want to look in their eyes.
UFC president Dana White was asked about the awkward social distancing guidelines employed by the broadcast booth and he admitted that the UFC was still trying to figure things out.
Obviously there’s this whole social distancing and keeping people away from each other. Everybody here was tested. People that are here are negative but I don’t know you know, we’re just trying to figure it out. We’re still trying to figure this whole thing out