The situation started ugly and only got worse. As the day went on slurs flew along with hard words. It ended with the UFC's iconic announcer Joe Rogan claiming credit for getting Fighter's Only writer Tomas Rios fired from one of the industry's leading magazines and using a homophobic slur to describe the reporter.
It all began, believe it or not, with an obscure kick popularized by Brazilian K-1 star Francisco Fihlo. The so-called "Brazilian kick" was employed in the Tyson Griffin-Nik Lentz fight at UFC 123. Rogan, a former taekwondo standout, called the kick a "question mark kick" and Rios, an acerbic and aggressive journalist took him to task on twitter:
"Joe Rogan calling a Brazilian kick the "question mark kick" during Griffin/Lentz is pantheon level cluelessness."
That is par for the course for Rios, who has rarely been called to the carpet for his attacking style. But following the lead of fighter Sean McCorkle, who claims his own flame war with Rios caused the reporter to be fired from Sherdog earlier this month, Rogan fired back on the Underground:
He's a dumb c**t. That's exactly what it's called. Before it was ever the Brazilian kick it was also called a "fake front kick roundhouse kick."
-Note all obscenities obscured to comply with SBNation policy
K-1 announcer Michael Schiavello joined the pile on:
It got called The Brazilian Kick because Francisco Filho would throw it to great effect and then other Brazilians like Feitosa would use it similarly... so the Japanese mostly dubbed it the Brazilian Kick as a catchy gimmick because the Brazilians (started with Filho) made it their kickboxing specialty. Before that it was called, commonly, a question mark kick because the foot paints an invisible question mark in the air as it travels.
BTW even before Filho was using it, other Brazilians like Ademir daCosta used it... but Filho made it truly famous.
BTW again... Filho used to call in often just a Kubi Geri (kobe geri) or neck kick.
It has also been called an upside down kick because you sneak OVER the top and the opponent's defense and then come down with the kick.
But hey, a dumb c**t wouldn't know this! ;-)
But simply embarrassing Rios wasn't enough for Rogan. Whether his pride was injured by Rios's twitter attack or he just wanted to settle the score in the most permanent fashion, Rogan pushed the war of words further. Calling Rios a homophobic slur of the most repulsive variety, Rogan claimed he had him fired from Fighter's Only:
Rios no longer writes for Fighters Only magazine. I got him fired. First time I've ever done this to a so called mma journalist, but I've had more than enough of these f**king zeros clogging up the sport with their incompetent bullsh*t.
You wanted my attention, f**got? You got it.
Here's another example of MMA not quite being ready for primetime. Can you imagine John Madden or Joe Buck going on a popular sport's message board, calling a Sports Illustrated reporter a "f**got" and then bragging about getting them fired? It would be front page news in sports sections nationwide and the lead story on Sports Center. It's entirely unacceptable, if true, that Fighter's Only would allow Rogan to dictate who covers the sport for their magazine or website (the magazine didn't respond to requests for comments prior to publication). The use of the homophobic slur only makes the entire ugly incident just a little sleazier.
Joe Rogan should know better than this. The world is not a giant comedy club and a critical reporter is not a heckler to be shouted down. It's one thing to make the decision to engage a critic head on. I do that all the time in the comments here on Bloody Elbow, although like Rogan, it's often to my own detriment. I also understand his frustration with Rios, a needlessly negative journalist I don't personally care for. But the repulsive name calling is inappropriate in any circumstance. The sport deserves a better representative than that. I hope Joe keeps that in mind the next time he goes on the offensive.
Update: Rios offers Bloody Elbow an exclusive statement
First things first, as far as I know I'm still freelancing for Fighters Only. My opinions of Joe Rogan's commentary are entirely my own and in no way reflect the opinions of anyone at Fighters Only. I've often taken issue with Rogan's commentary and stand by my comments. His usage of terminology and analysis that is reflective only of his own training background and not that of the fighters actually in the cage is grating. Disagreements on semantics are secondary however to the issue of how he reacted to the controversial decision in the Tyson Griffin/Nik Lentz bout. Before the decision was even announced he was defending the possibility of Lentz winning. Based on the judging criteria in the unified rules of MMA, Griffin should have won the decision and every major MMA media outlet at the event scored the bout for Griffin.
With that out of the way, I'd like to make it clear that none of this matters. My comments were aimed exclusively at Rogan's commentary. He has responded with homophobic language which I consider unfortunate at best. There are many LGBTQ fans of MMA who are forced to deal with this sort of language in their daily lives. If I regret anything about what I said, it's that it made him feel the need to use the language that he did. I know many people who read this will be dismissive of what I'm saying, but the fact remains we live in a world that makes the lives of LGBTQ people difficult at best. I hope Rogan apologizes to the people he offended.
UPDATE [from Luke Thomas]: I changed one word in the title of Jon's post. I substituted "rant" for "slur". In reading through Joe Rogan's comments, I'm not sure it's fair to say there was a rant, much less a homophobic one. That said, the term Rogan used is certainly a slur. I'm not really sure where I stand on the issue because Rogan occupies a weird space between sports professional and often crude entertainer. I'm also very certain he does not hate homosexuals in any way. Still, the use of the term seems awfully unnecessary.
UPDATE 2 Rogan apologizes for the use of a slur in reference to Rios:
I apologize for my use of the word "fa*got." I enjoy that word immensely, and although I do not intend for its use to be interpreted as a negative term for homosexuals, but rather as I've always used it to imply that a person is weak and pathetic, which I believe Rios to be. I understand that in this ultra-sensitive, politically correct world we live in one must be careful of the words they choose, for in choosing the wrong one you can give your adversary a new angle of distraction, as I see Rios is concentrating on that now instead of owning up to the fact that he has no f*cking idea what the proper terminology of the kick he criticized me of describing was.
What's really important is not a hot button insult word, or a disagreement on terms used to describe techniques, but rather completely incompetent reporters masquerading as martial arts experts. Rios is a negative a**hole that consistently insults fighters and produces fight breakdowns that resemble what I would expect from an angry failure with no friends who has spent too much time alone with a thesaurus trying to convince people that he's clever.
I have sat back and watched this shit-head spout out his horrible, disrespectful nonsense for a long time, and was truly happy when he was fired by sherdog, and absolutely perplexed when I found out that Fighters Only Magazine is actually giving him actual real money for the bulls*it he's trying to pass off as journalism.
Fighters Only is one of the very best magazines in the sport, and as per my correspondence with them I'm delighted that I'm not the only one that thinks he's an a**hat and a terrible journalist.
When I saw that he had opened his dumb trap about me I welcomed the opportunity to shut him up.
As for my use of the offensive word "f**got" please accept my apologies and replace it with "c**k-sucker."
Thank you, and good day.
FINAL UPDATE: We're reopening comments thanks to the generous volunteer efforts of community moderator Chris Barton. Play nice everyone.