One of the more controversial moments coming out of UFC 142 was Joe Rogan's post-fight interview with referee Mario Yamasaki following his ruling to disqualify Erick Silva for illegal blows to the back of the head of Carlo Prater. Rogan questioned Yamasaki and effectively called him out for making what Joe felt was a bad call.
Rogan's questioning of the referee in the heat of the moment in-ring directly after the fight irritated some people who felt it was unprofessional and some have even said that it is something that wouldn't be allowed in the U.S. where there would be commission oversight.
Rogan took to The Underground to explain why he handled the interview the way he did:
He's a great guy, and I'm always happy to see him. When I step into the octagon however, I represent the people watching at home that might have obvious questions, and when something is controversial I'm forced to confront it honestly because that's what I would want to hear from a person in my position if I was a fan watching it at home.
It was obviously a controversial call, and I'm sure some of you agree with it, but I certainly think it's also possible to argue that it was a bad call. That was my perspective, so I had to express it. I'm not a perfect person, and I f*ck up all the time. It's a part of life.
I think Mario Yamasaki is one of the best in the world at refereeing MMA. No doubt about it.
He's got great insight to the sport, he's a life long martial artist, and he's a really smart guy.
What I was acting from, is that I saw an incredible young talent get denied a KO victory for a questionable call. When I entered into the Octagon and was told of the official ruling that Silva was going to be disqualified for illegal blows to the back of the head everyone that I was around who heard the news opened their mouths in shock. Everyone said, "what?"
The people in the truck couldn't believe it. I had to read it back to them because I thought it was a mistake, and when I leaned over to explain it to Goldie he couldn't believe it either.
I had to ask Mario about it. I didn't know how he was going to respond, but I had to ask him.
I actually feel that Rogan did his job very well in this case. He wasn't rude or overly antagonistic with Yamasaki. It was a very unusual ending that he disagreed with and he spoke to the referee to get clarification. Mario absolutely could have turned the interview down, there was nothing unprofessional in the least.
As for the idea that something like this couldn't happen in the states? I present Jim Gray giving referee Russell Mora the business following his horrible performance in the first Joseph Agbeko vs. Abner Mares bout, a fight which took place in Vegas:
For those who don't want to watch the video, Gray laid into Mora for allowing repeated low blows by Mares as well as calling a clear low blow a knockdown. He told him over and over that he was wrong, made him watch and re-watch the replay and at one point even said "With all due respect, you have a difficult job and I have a high degree of respect for referees, and so does Al Bernstein. This quite possibly, he said, has been one of the worst officiated fights he has seen in years." And then was very aggressive in telling Mora how badly he performed one more time before ending the interview.
There is nothing wrong or unprofessional with a commentator questioning, and even criticizing a referee for questionable performance as long as that referee agreed to an interview. What we saw Saturday night was actually Joe Rogan doing his job very well.