SB Nation

Stephie Haynes | July 9, 2015

Joe Rogan

‘This is madness’

Joe Rogan has been calling mixed martial arts action for nearly two decades with the UFC, and during that time he has managed to juggle acting, talk shows, and comedy career pursuits. The outspoken 48-year-old has never been one to shy away from a hot-button topic and frequently finds himself quoted from his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, or from his various social media accounts.

For the last seven or eight years, I’ve interviewed Joe annually to get his take on the bigger news stories in the sport, what’s going on his life outside the UFC, other career pursuits, and some popcorn style topics, like what movies or television he happens to be a fan of. This year’s interview is no different. Rogan went into detail on a variety of currently trending MMA discussion points including, but not limited to, the UFC’s new anti-doping program, the new and improved Bellator, injury issues in training camps, fighters taking excessive damage, who is the best fighter in the world, thoughts on the Reebok deal and much more.

*For the point of clarity, this interview was conducted on the afternoon of June 19, 2015.

Steph DanielsWhat’s your opinion of the UFC’s new anti-doping program?

Joe RoganI definitely think it’s good. I mean, if you’re going to have no performance enhancing drugs, the best way to find out whether or not guys are using performance enhancing drugs is how the UFC is doing it. You need a guy like Jeff Novitzky - a guy who has experience with catching guys and who is completely independent. The UFC has zero involvement in it, and everything seems great to me.

What we’re really going to find out is whether or not people who have made statements like ‘Everyone is using PEDs during camp,’ like I’ve heard Vitor Belfort say, are right. You don’t know until you are either going to every single camp and testing everyone every day, or you’re in those camps. When a guy like Vitor says something like that, people push it aside, but you have to wonder. I think we’re going to find out now.

Steph DanielsBen Rothwell made some insinuations that Cain Velasquez might be using PEDs and that the fans would likely see a different version of him when he fought Fabricio Werdum. Cain ended up losing that fight, spurring on a lot of chatter that maybe Ben was right. Where do you stand on that discussion?

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Joe RoganIf the Cain Velasquez fight was at sea level, and Cain all of a sudden looked tired after fighting on a regular basis with nothing wrong with him, then I think that accusation might hold merit. But, we’re talking about a fight that took place at 7,500ft above sea level. That’s an insane altitude for any heavyweight fight. It’s brutal.

If you remember back when Mark Hunt fought Ben Rothwell in Denver, the UFC vowed they were never going to have a heavyweight fight at altitude again. Meanwhile, because Cain is so popular, especially among Mexicans, they decided it was a great idea to have Cain fight in Mexico City. The altitude there is 2,000ft above Boulder, Colorado! It’s crazy! I worked out in the hotel and I wanted to die. The altitude is absolutely brutal. Fabricio Werdum did the right thing; he went there early and spent a month plus at altitude in preparation.

I read somewhere (I think on my message board) that there’s a formula that endurance athletes follow in order to adjust to a certain altitude, depending on where you’re coming from and where you’re going, and it tells you how much time you need to acclimate.  For Cain, it would have been 26 days. I believe he was only there around two weeks. He just didn’t spend enough time there.

You also have to consider the fact that he was off for nearly two whole years. Cain has been notoriously injury prone over the last few years because he trains like a madman. There’s only one way you get to be a Cain Velasquez, and it’s not by taking days off and training light. He’s a madman.

You can attribute Cain’s issues with cardio to a couple of things; one is Fabricio Werdum’s technique. Fabricio was nailing him. He hit him with some really good strikes in the first round and that takes a lot out of you, and the altitude takes a lot out of you. Then there’s his long layoff. All of those are real factors. Anything else is just speculation. I don’t really know whether or not Cain has ever taken any sort of performance enhancing substance, but we all know that just because someone hasn’t tested positive, it doesn’t mean that haven’t taken anything. The Lance Armstrong situation proved that.

Steph Daniels Anderson Silva’s test failure broke a lot of hearts among the fans, also.

Joe Rogan It came out that there are conflicting results on one of Anderson’s drug samples. Apparently one testing company showed positive results and the other showed negative results. That’s one of the things they’re apparently testing. False positives absolutely do happen. So does contaminated supplements; you might buy something that was made in a laboratory that also manufactures things that are illegal under the rules. That stuff can get into your supplements in trace amounts.

I’m not making any excuses for Anderson, but it certainly is possible. I do believe he admitted to taking the banned substance while he was healing from his leg break, which is common. If there is any sort of justification or rationalization for taking a steroid, it is to heal. That’s what they’re really for. When people have injuries, that’s really the best way to get them to heal quicker.

Is that cheating? Well, I don’t know. That’s where it gets to in-competition vs out-of-competition testing. They’re considered different things; one being you’re on something while you’re competing, the other being you’ve used a banned substance in training.

It’s very complex, but I think Ronda Rousey had a very good point. Her point was that when you take a performance enhancing drug - and that drug allows you to do more damage to your opponent - you really could consider it assault. You’re taking something that lets you do damage to your opponent that you would not have been able to do otherwise.

I think we need to level the playing field as much as possible. There are always going to be genetic advantages that certain people enjoy, but I think the reality of the sport is - and this is a very uncomfortable reality that a lot of people don’t like hearing - this sport has been plagued by performance enhancing drug use for a very, very long time. It’s almost a completely common aspect of the sport. That’s what we’re finding when we see all these people getting caught with random tests.

I think PED use is much more common than we know. When Vitor Belfort was tested while training for Weidman and his testosterone levels were four times higher than Weidman’s. This is a guy that was taking TRT because he had low testosterone. So now he’s off the TRT, but yet, when they test him, his test still shows a level of testosterone that’s four time higher than Weidman’s? Explain that.

It’s all madness. I hate the idea of anybody cheating in martial arts, because I like to think that martial arts is all about using your character, your will, your determination, and your discipline to better yourself as an athlete and a fighter. I like to think it’s about going in there and doing the very best you can, so that each performance is not just a victory over an opponent, but is also the culmination of all of your discipline, work, preparation and strategy. I like to think that’s what fighting is really all about, not who has the best doctor or the best chemist, or who knows the guy who can get stuff that doesn’t show up on tests.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC UFC via Getty Images
"… that Rockhold fight, Jesus Christ! He had muscles on his teeth. He had muscles on his eyeballs."

There are massive advantages to having hyper-human levels of hormones. We know this. It’s a fact. There’s no denying it whatsoever. Are those advantages enough to beat a guy like Chris Weidman? A guy who is natural and who is just incredibly disciplined, talented and gifted? I don’t know.

If we saw Vitor in his TRT prime, like he was against Rockhold or Bisping, compete against Weidman, would we see a different result? We would certainly have seen a different body. His body was shockingly different when he faced Chris Weidman compared to when he faced Dan Henderson or Luke Rockhold, especially.

I mean that Rockhold fight, Jesus Christ! He looked like a fucking alien! He had muscles on his teeth. He had muscles on his eyeballs. He looked incredible. Then for the Weidman fight he looked much older than his chronological age. Compare Vitor to Randy Couture when he fought Tim Sylvia. He was into his forties and he looked fantastic.

What you see in Vitor’s performances is the result of an incredible amount of discipline, talent, intelligence, skill and experience. There’s a lot going on for Belfort, but hormones also play a big factor, without a shadow of a doubt. They played a very big factor in his last three spectacular victories. You could say his last three victories were among the most impressive of his career at a very advanced age for a cage fighter. Especially for a guy who started his UFC career at 19 years of age in 1997. That’s an amazing statistic.

Vitor was really the poster boy for the efficacy of testosterone replacement therapy and whatever else might have been floating around the gym. I don’t know. For a guy like me, who is 48 and not in competition, I love TRT. I think it’s great. I didn’t know your body could work that well at that age. It’s amazing. But look what happens when they tell him to get off of it. As an athlete who is willing to be tested, he’s just not the same guy. He’s just not. He’s absolutely not. Neither was Bigfoot.

Photo: Jamie Vernon/

Dan Henderson seems to be the only guy that’s close to what he was before, and you can especially make that statement after his knockout of Tim Boestch. Dan has publicly said that he was taking very little testosterone, though. He wasn’t taking a lot. He wasn’t achieving those hyper-human levels and his body reflects that. His body never got to some freakish steroid-looking superman body. He really never achieved that look. In the Boestch fight, he didn’t look any different from his previous fight.

Without a doubt, there’s an advantage to having those extra hormones in your body. There’s an advantage in recovery, and that advantage allows you to train harder and longer, and recover more quickly from injuries. When you have athletes who are doing that over a long period of time - whether it’s sanctioned like TRT, or unsanctioned, where guys just take stuff and hope they don’t get caught, or use doctors to shield the fact - either way, when you tell them they can’t do that anymore, you’re going to see some repercussions.

I believe it was Aldo who said we’re not going to see as exciting fights, which I thought was incredibly honest on his part.

Steph DanielsDo you feel that the effects of coming off PEDs might be related to the ever increasing number of injuries we’re seeing?

Joe RoganThere’s speculation in two ways about that. One way people are speculating is that a lot of these ‘injuries’ fighters are pulling out with are not really injuries. The speculation is they may have done in-house testing and have realized they are going to get caught. Maybe they took something that’s oil based and has a long half-life. That is a possibility.

The other possibility is that people are getting injured more because they can’t train like they used to, because they were training in some sort of hyper-human way. I don’t know. It would just be pure speculation on my part. From my personal experience with testosterone replacement therapy, it helps you recover quicker without a doubt. You have more energy, you feel better, and you have more confidence because of that. There are so many factors that come into play when you are supplementing hormones.

I know Vitor has had several injuries. He’s had many broken hands. I think he broke his hand before the Jon Jones fight. I ran into him in Brazil and he still had a pin in his hand. Vitor trains really hard, and TRT can only help so much. It’s not like you take it and it provides this bulletproof shield that lets you run through wrestling practice and your ligaments never get damaged. You can still easily get injured. I think he might be training a little smarter as he gets older - and I’m sure that’s something Weidman will have to do as well.

Another thing to take into consideration is, when you look at a guy like Chris Weidman - who is clean as far as we know, and I have no reason to doubt him - he’s young and healthy and when he’s training hard his testosterone dipped down to 300, which is fairly low. He’s a young man, but when you’re training really hard your body gets broken down, and it’s hard to have the energy to get up in the morning and do it again and again.

When you’re taking testosterone, even if you’re a young guy like Chris Weidman, if he was to supplement with Vitor Belfort levels of testosterone, he’s going to have a lot more pep in his step the next day when he shows up for training. Even though he’s going through these hard camps, it’s definitely going to be easier than on guys who are doing it naturally.

It’s harder for guys who are doing it naturally. It’s fucking harder. That’s one of the things that Weidman said to Vitor when they were at the weigh-ins. He said, ‘You tested at 1200. You were fucking using during camp. I’m going to make you pay for that shit.’ That’s what I asked him about when I interviewed on the stage. He was furious that Vitor Belfort, at 37 years of age, is testing at four times his level of testosterone after getting off of TRT. And he has every right to be furious.

You agree to an even playing field, and you think your opponent is honouring that. You’re training your ass off, you’re broken down and exhausted during training, and your opponent is using illegal substances that might allow him to land strikes that he otherwise wouldn’t be able to land, or execute techniques that he otherwise wouldn’t have the energy to execute.

Weidman is an animal in the cage. I don’t know how anyone could not be a fan of that guy. He’s incredibly disciplined, he’s very skilled, and he’s tough as nails. I like the way he carries himself, and he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s a great example of what a champion should be. I think everybody should be a Chris Weidman fan. I think he’s amazing.

Steph DanielsRecently, Ken Shamrock and Kimbo Slice were on a conference call promoting their fight, where Kimbo was speaking to the positive side of PEDs. Do you think if fighters had the ability to make the choice on taking PEDs, it would benefit the sport in any way?

Joe RoganThose guys are entitled to their opinion. Maybe they’re more entitled to that opinion than I am, because they’re fighting. Ken Shamrock has openly admitted that he has used steroids and that those steroids has helped him train and recover from injuries. His opinion is to let everybody do whatever they want to do.

Photo: Jamie Vernon/

You have to realize that Ken didn’t just come up in the UFC, but he had some of his finest fights in Pride. Ken Shamrock was a part of two of the greatest organizations of all time in the UFC and Pride. But during the Pride days, the reality of Pride is that it was a dirty league. By dirty I don’t mean that they were spiking each other’s drinks or anything, I mean they were taking performance enhancing drugs. They didn’t have laws against it.

Enson Inoue was on my podcast and he talked about this. His contract in Pride openly stated that they’re not going to test for steroids. He was not joking about it. They’re basically telling you to go and take steroids. That’s where Ken had some very good performances. That’s where a lot of guys had fantastic performances. A lot of those guys didn’t really look the same when they left Pride.

I also think, if you get two guys like Shamrock and Kimbo - and they both agree to let each other take PEDs - why can’t you make an exception and let these guys take that stuff? TRT is a perfect example; if you have the NAC that doesn’t allow TRT, that’s their prerogative, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with an athletic commission saying, ‘As long as these two fighters both agree not to take anything outside of what is prescribed by doctors, and we’re going to randomly test you make sure your levels stay below X, you can take TRT.’ I think it’s neither illegal, nor unethical, as long as they both agree to it.

If Shamrock and Kimbo agreed to that and took testosterone under a doctor’s supervision and a clear set of guidelines, I don’t think that would be unethical at all, and we would see a better fight.
Did you see Shamrock at the weigh-in? He looked pretty good. I don’t know how he got there, but I guarantee you most of how he got there is discipline, hard work, and a good diet, and then maybe some Mexican supplements. I don’t know.

I’ll tell you what - you could take all the supplements in the world at 51 years old, and you don’t look like Ken Shamrock unless you train hard, and Ken Shamrock is a notoriously hard trainer. That’s why the Lion’s Den was legendary. They would have those tryouts with a gauntlet you would have to go through to make it into the Lion’s Den. It was like becoming a fucking Navy Seal! Ken is a no-bullshit guy, and he made those guys train hard, and he trains hard. Ken Shamrock is an animal. 51, 41, whatever age he is, he is a goddamn animal.

People sleep on him because he got beat up by Tito Ortiz. Look, Tito Ortiz back then was a bad motherfucker. He was a big light-heavyweight and a skillful wrestler, and he was always going to have a grappling advantage over Ken when it came to wrestling and top control. That was Tito when Tito was Tito, you know? I have all the respect in the world for Shamrock. I’ll always be a big fan of Ken Shamrock.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with two guys agreeing to take levels of hormones to bring them to the levels of, say, a healthy 28 year old man. If they both agree to do that, that’s not cheating in my mind. That’s them training hard and having some assistance to let them get into better condition.

I think that could be an option 10-20 years down the road. One of the cool things Ken said about the Kimbo fight is, that he’s earned the right to fight for fun. And he absolutely has. A lot of people criticize him and say he should get out of the game…he should do whatever the fuck he wants to do. If he wants to jump out of planes with a parachute, or skydive, or base-jump, or jump off of a cliff with a wingsuit, let him fucking do it. He’s Ken Shamrock. He can do whatever he wants.

If he and Kimbo decided that the way they wanted to do the fight is by taking extra hormones, I would not have a problem with that at all. I don’t think that’s cheating. I think cheating is pretending you’re not taking something when you are, and you getting caught. That’s when it’s cheating.

We’re going to have a lot of different options within a decade or two. Sports science is accelerating at an exponential rate; they’re constantly coming up with new discoveries. Gene therapies are coming to the forefront now. There’s already been a lot of speculation about other countries using gene therapy on amateur athletes, and that this is going to be a real problem for Olympic testing. They might have to develop new, more sophisticated methods for detecting these gene therapy solutions that athletes come up with.

We’re going to have super-athletes within a hundred years. A hundred years from now, this is all going to be laughable. ‘Remember back in 2015 when they were trying to test people for steroids? Hahahaha!’ They’re going to be laughing at us. In the future you’ll go to the grocery store and the guy next to you will look like the Hulk, because we’ll be able to do whatever we want to human bodies. Human bodies will be as malleable as a piece of clay. We’ll be able to do things with genes that we can only imagine.

They’ve already begun experimenting with myostatin inhibitors in mice, whippets, and cows. Have you seen those whippets with the insane muscles? I’ve shown people that and they think it’s photoshopped. It’s not photoshop, it’s myostatin inhibitors. These dogs were born with this genetic anomaly that can be manipulated. It’s actually naturally occurred in some people. It occurred in some young boy in Germany, I believe. It could also have corresponding health issues. We’re going to have to find out what happens to people when they introduce this, but we’re beginning to see little flashes of something that will become very commonplace.

This debate we’re having just now with PEDs is like putting up a dam to try to stop this flood. I don’t know that they’re going to be able to by just testing people in the way they’re doing now. Sports science is going to accelerate. Things like BALCO did with ‘The Clear’ - an undetectable steroid? We’re going to see a lot of those in the future. We’re going to see a lot of different stuff that people will take to get around the tests.

It’s about whether or not the governing bodies and the different testing associations will be able to keep up with the people who are coming up with these methods of enhancing performance. It’s a really interesting thing.

Steph DanielsWhat kind of injury prevention options would you like to see in the sport?

Joe RoganI think there are many fighters that have deficiencies in various aspects of their body that they either haven’t addressed or haven’t been made aware of. One of the more interesting podcast guests I’ve had recently is Nick Curson. Nick is the guy who trained Rafael Dos Anjos for his fight against Pettis, and he trains Ruslan Provodnikov. He’s an excellent strength & conditioning coach. And he was telling me that he puts these fighters through these tests to find out if they’re balanced. Are they favoring one leg more than the other? Is one part of their body much stronger than the other part? Do they have any corresponding issues that might cause some form of injury in the future because they’re overcompensating?

I think most fighters just show up in the gym and train hard. They might have some issue that they’re not dealing with over and over again that eventually could get worse. With Cain Velasquez and AKA, it’s hard to argue with the success that AKA has had. Do they train hard? Yes. But they’ve also developed Luke Rockhold, Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Josh Thomson, Mick Swick and Jon Fitch; a whole slew of fucking killers. I don’t know if there’s any other way to make real killers. I’m not really sure. There’s a certain amount of trial by fire you have to go through in order to be a great fighter.

Photo: Jamie Vernon/

I think it’s different for MMA than any other sport. I think there are certain aspects of MMA training, when you’re talking about hard sparring or hard wrestling that can’t be emulated. Some people believe, and this is something Curson brought up, that strength and conditioning in camp is the most important thing at that level. That really a fighter at that level already has the skills to fight at that level.

If you take an Anthony Pettis or a Rafael Dos Anjos, those fighters already have the ability to fight at an extremely high level, but once the fight gets going it’s all about maintaining your conditioning and the amount of energy you need to put out to be just a half a second ahead of your opponent. One of the points that Curson had was that RDA, in that fight against Pettis, was just barely beating him in every exchange, but beating him just barely in every exchange over the course of a 25 minute fight adds up to a dominant victory.

If you look at the exchanges, he’s winning each one by a fraction of a second. And that’s what it’s all about; it’s about having the ability to recover and have more energy, to execute your techniques, and get off quicker than the other guy, because you’re in better shape. It’s about training more plyometrics and more explosive drills and all of the stuff that Curson and Marinovich, who was Curson’s mentor, do. It’s very hard to argue with that.

If you look at what BJ Penn was doing when he was training with the Marinovich’s, he was at his very best. To this day, I would put the BJ Penn who beat Diego Sanchez against any lightweight ever. I think that when you get a guy who has the kind of skill, technique, and talent that BJ Penn has, and then you get him in supreme condition, it’s hard to argue with that.

It may be that the guys with hard sparring and hard wrestling in camp are actually doing themselves a disservice. In some ways, Dana might be right. The way he put it, ‘these guys are training in the stone age,’ it’s hard to say that, because they’re one of the best fucking camps in the world. AKA have a proven track record of producing monsters, so it’s hard to say they’re doing it wrong, just because the heavyweight champ keeps getting injured. You know who doesn’t keep getting injured? Luke Rockhold.

Luke Rockhold is the smaller one of those guys. Cain is a heavyweight, Cormier is a light heavyweight, and then you have Rockhold who is 185lbs, and he’s not getting injured like those guys are. So, how does that work? He’s training with a guy two weight classes above him on a regular basis, going to war, and Rockhold manages to show up at the Machida fight ripped and ready. He dominated the former light heavyweight champion - and one of the best middleweights in the world - in one of the most spectacular fights of his career. If you ask him why he’ll tell you it’s because he’s in there with those fucking monsters on a daily basis, going to war. So who am I to say they’re doing it wrong? I don’t know, but I think Curson makes some very interesting points.

Steph DanielsYou’ve become increasingly more vocal about fighters taking heavy damage in fights. You even had a heart-to-heart with your good friend, Brendan Schaub, about a devastating loss he suffered. Has that changed how you feel about calling fights with guys who have been around a lot longer than Schaub and taken a lot more damage?

Joe RoganI certainly don’t like to watch guys take a lot of unnecessary damage. The Nate Marquardt fight against Kelvin Gastelum recently was difficult to watch for that very reason. That was hard. [Sighs deeply] I didn’t enjoy that. Kelvin is a great guy and he’s very talented, but it’s hard to see a guy like Nate get beat up like that.

Brendan Schaub is a very particular example, because Brendan is a very good friend of mine; I love that guy. I know Brendan outside of the sport and I know how hard it is for guys to walk away from fighting. It becomes part of their identity. But, I also know when guys are not totally committed to it, you know? That’s a weird thing with fighting; some guys start their career with an incredible amount of energy, gusto, and drive, and then somewhere along the way that kind of ebbs from their body and mind. They still train really hard, they’re still putting in two sessions a day, but they don’t have the same intensity, or will, or something. Something is missing, but often times nobody talks about it or calls them on it. But those are the guys who get hurt.

Anybody can get hurt in fighting. It’s a crazy business. In my opinion, MMA is the most difficult endeavor in all of sports. It’s way more difficult than any other combat sport like boxing, and certainly more difficult than any other sport. I think unless you are 100% committed, unless MMA is your life, unless you’re Conor McGregor or Ronda Rousey, you have to be fucking all-in. If you’re not all-in you should get all-out, that’s what I think.

I don’t think there’s going to be a point where I don’t want to watch people compete, but I certainly don’t want to watch them compete past the point they’ve taken too much damage. I think everyone has the right to treat their body in any way they want to. If you want to be that guy who goes out and drinks whiskey every night, does cocaine until 7am, and then falls asleep with your tongue hanging out in a puddle of your own blood and puke, go for it. I can’t tell you what to do with your body. If you want to be that guy that races BMX bikes and crashes and has titanium plates in your collarbone, who am I to tell you not to do it? Whether you want to put piercings in or tattoo your face, do whatever the fuck you want to do.

I just have a real hard time with fighters that have reached a point where they’re either lying to themselves or they’re not objectively able to process the fact that their body has diminished and the party is over. Some guys can’t see that and it’s real hard to watch. It’s real hard to see people just fight past their prime.

Steph Daniels Quick opinions on the following fighters: Gray Maynard

Joe Rogan I like him a lot. I think he’s a great fighter and he’s had some awesome fights. His fights with Frankie Edgar were just classics. But Gray Maynard has clearly had issues, and those issues could be because of the amount of damage he’s sustained in his career and most likely are because of that. I don’t know whether or not he can still compete at a high level anymore, and I also don’t know whether or not he has a lot of options.

A lot of these guys can go from being world-class contenders to being essentially forced to the brink of retirement, or forced into the conversation of retirement, within two years. That’s what’s happened to Gray. Within 2-3 years, Gray went from being a guy who was fighting for the title and lost to Frankie Edgar, to a guy who is getting knocked down on a regular basis now. He’s getting knocked down in a way that is kind of shocking, like in the T.J. Grant fight and the Nate Diaz fight. It’s like, ‘Woah, I don’t know if this guy should still be doing this,’ because it seems like when he gets hit, he just can’t take it anymore.

That’s what we saw with Chuck Liddell later in his career. It happens very quickly, and when it happens, there’s no coming back from that. You don’t really see guys coming back from that to compete at a high level. Except Arlovski. That’s pretty amazing. The only guy who has managed to compete at that level after so many KO losses is Overeem.

Steph Daniels Diego Sanchez

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/UFC via Getty Images
"As long as [Diego Sanchez is] fighting, I’m watching"

Joe RoganDiego Sanchez isn’t getting knocked out. He’s taking a lot of punishment, but he’s notoriously durable and tough. He’s had a long career and he’s certainly taken punishment and had some wars, but Diego Sanchez might be one of the toughest… No, not might be, is one of the toughest human beings I’ve ever seen compete. Ever. Mentally, he just can’t be broken. I’ve never seen him quit. He’s been beat up before, and he’s lost before, but Diego wins more third rounds against guys that were beating him in the first two rounds than almost anybody I can imagine, and I think that’s just heart and will.

Look at Diego vs. Martin Kampmann; he was winning that fucking third round with his face hanging off! Look at Diego vs. Jake Ellenberger; in the third round he got Jake Ellenberger down and took his back. He’s an animal. Diego Sanchez is a fucking animal and as long as he’s fighting, I’m watching.

Steph Daniels Josh Koscheck

Joe RoganKoscheck has definitely had some tough fights over the last few years. He’s an older guy now and he has taken a lot of punishment. The GSP fight was a real issue, with the broken orbital bone and the long, intensive recovery from that. Then losing to Ellenberger and Erick Silva so close to each other, and the Tyron Woodley bout prior to those fights was a rough one. But, he went out like a gunslinger.

Steph DanielsThere’s been some talk recently about the possible link between head trauma and poor life decisions. Are you a subscriber to that theory?

Joe RoganThat’s certainly a subject of speculation, but at the end of the day that’s all it is - speculation. I think that Doctors have made correlations between head trauma and impulsive decisions and addictive behavior, and there’s a conversation to be had about that for sure.

With the Jon Jones example, Jon obviously has some demons. It’s kind of really hard to figure out where those demons come from, but it could be a lot of different factors. I mean the pressure of being Jon Jones, this 27-year-old phenom, this top-of-the-food chain world champion, has got to be almost unbearable. To be that guy… no one knows what it’s like but that guy. It’s really hard. The temptations and the need to relieve pressure must be huge.

The guy’s life is insanely difficult. It’s also wonderful and spectacular, and he has incredibly rare opportunities and gifts, but who knows why Jon is doing what Jon has been doing? It could be a bunch of issues. It could be alcoholism, it could be addictions, or it could just be trying to relieve the overwhelming feeling of the world nipping at your heels every day when you get up.

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC UFC via Getty Images
"the pressure of being Jon Jones … this top-of-the-food chain world champion … has got to be almost unbearable"

One telling thing was that after Jon Jones beat Daniel Cormier, in the Octagon afterwards, he wanted to address the haters. He was like, ‘if you bought a break bones shirt, you just wasted your money!’ He was angry. He was really mad at those people.

Nobody, it seems, does well with the whole instant fame thing - although Ronda Rousey is a good example of somebody who does well. There are some people who can handle all sorts of things that all sorts of people can’t. I just think that fame, and especially fame as a combat sports athlete, is probably unbelievably difficult.

I’ll never forget when BJ Penn choked out Matt Hughes, and I was interviewing Matt in the cage afterwards. Matt was incredibly honest, and he said, ‘I’ve got to be honest with you, it’s a relief. When you’re a champion, the pressure is ungodly.’ I admired him greatly for being able to say that, and I think with just that one statement he’s done a great service to a lot of other fighters that have maybe felt that exact feeling, but weren’t able to express it because they were worried someone would think they were a coward.

So here you have Matt Hughes, one of the all-time greats, and he’s saying that the pressure was overwhelming and he was relieved when BJ beat him. I thought that was kind of crazy. As people sitting on the sidelines, we really only have a sort of speculative idea of what that pressure would be like. I think it’s probably overwhelming. It has to be a part of what Jon Jones is going through. It has to be a part of what a lot of these guys go through. The pressure is just unbelievably brutal.

Steph DanielsThere are two fighters, both champions, that are no longer fighting right now, albeit for different reasons. Jones because of his legal issues, and GSP because he decided to retire. Both guys were on incredible win streaks and arguably in the prime of their careers, which leaves the question of who really is the best, sort of hanging unresolved. Who, in your eyes, is the best?

Joe RoganI would say the Jon Jones situation is more sad, than anything. It bothers me, because I like Jon as a person. I think he’s a really cool guy and I’ve really enjoyed talking to him. I don’t know if it’s the people he surrounds himself with that aren’t steering him in a good way, there’s a lot of factors, I’m sure, but what bothers me is his behavior. What bothers me is the fact he’s involved in a hit and run auto accident with a pregnant woman. That bothers me. I don’t want to see that from anybody, and I certainly don’t want to see it from a guy that I like and admire.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC UFC via Getty Images
"I am one of the few that will say that I hope (GSP) never comes back"

Jon is pound-for-pound one of, if not the, best fighters in the world today. My personal opinion though, is that Mighty Mouse is the best guy in the world. He just doesn’t get hit, he finishes fights with a second to go, and he’s dominating everyone in his weight class in a way that we really haven’t seen from Jon.

Georges St. Pierre is an entirely different story. I’m actually happy that Georges stepped away when he did. I am one of the few that will say that I hope he never comes back. I hope he walks away with his legacy intact, and lives the rest of his life with the knowledge and the memory that he was the greatest welterweight the world has ever known.

In becoming that great fighter, he took a lot of shots. The UFC did a count on how many shots he took to the head during his career, and it was more than 800 blows by world-class fighters. That’s a lot. It doesn’t matter if it’s not all in one day, or not all in one week; your head can only get hit so many times. When a guy gets hit 800 times over the course of X amount of years, there’s going to be some damage.

Georges has had some memory issues that he’s talked about. I’m sure he’s had some struggles, and those struggles are really just the beginning, because the damage that a fighter takes in their career doesn’t truly manifest itself until years later. That’s what you see with a lot of old boxers, and I personally hope that Georges realizes that he’s had enough. He’s a legend and he made a ton of money. He’s got a great name that would lend itself well to doing seminars or he could run schools, gyms, or be involved in the sport as a spokesperson or ambassador for the rest of his life.

If he walks away now, he’ll have at least the majority of his faculties intact. He still talks very clearly, he’s still very personable and I really respect and admire him as a person.

I also thought Johny Hendricks beat him in his last fight. It was certainly a very close fight, not a blowout by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think that Johny won. And I think enough is enough. What Georges did was brilliant, and I hope he sticks with it and resists the temptation to return.

Steph DanielsAndre Pederneiras recently said anyone who didn’t like the new Reebok deal should ask for his or her release. Do you think the UFC should and/or will release fighters that ask for a release since the promotion’s policies have changed since they were originally signed?

Joe RoganWell, the conditions that they’re working under certainly have changed since the Reebok deal. I can give you a blanket statement for all this Reebok stuff, and you can kind of apply it to everything. If the fighters lose money because of it, it’s bad. Everything that causes the fighters to lose money, whether it be Reebok or something else, I’m against.

Fighting is an incredibly difficult pursuit. It’s the most exciting thing in the world to watch. They put everything on the line to compete at the very highest level, and they have a very small window to achieve success. Anything that costs them money during that time, I don’t like. That’s my blanket feeling about anything and everything.

Andre Pederneiras is entitled to his opinion. And what he’s saying, in voicing that opinion, might very well be that he wants fighters to be released so they can go over to Bellator and make more money, because they can have sponsors and they can still fight on television via Spike TV.

Steph DanielsWhat do you think of the new and improved, Scott Coker-at-the-helm Bellator?

Photo: Jamie Vernon/

Joe RoganI think it’s very possible that we may see some big name guys leave the UFC and go over to Bellator. They need to hire those names in order to boost up their organization. I also think there’s a problem with the name Bellator. The name doesn’t mean anything to anyone. I know it means "warrior" or something like that in Latin, but it certainly doesn’t make the casual fan think "MMA" when they hear it.

Why not just call it Spike TV MMA? Friday Night MMA, anything like that. When you watch boxing, it’s HBO Boxing or Showtime Boxing. Why does everybody have to have a name when it comes to an MMA organization? It’s mixed martial arts. Make it be about the fighters, instead of the name of the organization. Just because the UFC pulled it off and become the NFL of MMA, it doesn’t mean that all the competitors have to file suit.

If I was in the ear of Scott Coker, I would tell him, ‘Let’s abandon this name. We do not need this name. It holds us back.’ You’re gonna show mixed martial arts fights. What you should show is the fighters and their names, so that people will tune in to see those fighters again.

I think part of the problem is not creating stars, because they’re thinking that the organization is what’s important. The Bellator heavyweight champion - who the fuck is the Bellator heavyweight champion? Say his name, Goddamnit. We should know his name. Come up with a better name for your organization that doesn’t involve a dead language.

Remember WAMMA? They made Fedor the World MMA Association or something champion. It didn’t work out. I think the name holds Bellator back a little bit. If they just called it Spike TV MMA and built up those fighters, they’d do better. They have a huge platform with Spike. It’s the same one that made the UFC.

When Forrest Griffin fought Stephan Bonnar, nobody knew any of the people that were fighting. Bellator is essentially in the same position the UFC was in back in 2005. Spike can turn them in 5 years to what the UFC was in 2010. The UFC in 2010 was huge. There’s no reason why Spike can’t do exactly the same thing, if they play it right. I don’t think they’re going to do that with the name Bellator, though.

They should go after the top guys, spend some of that Viacom money, and build an empire. That kind of competition is great for fighters. If they do make some big moves and start paying guys big money, the UFC will have to pay guys more money, too.

They should publicize that they’re paying more money, so more people get excited about it. For example, when people hear that Ronda Rousey will fight Cris Cyborg, and they’ll both make $5M, people go ‘Whoa, $5M for women’s MMA,’ then it becomes exciting, and it gets more people to watch.

Those kind of things are good for everybody. It’s good for the organization, it’s good for the fighters, it’s good for the fans. If it takes off and becomes gigantic, it’s great for MMA, period. What’s great for MMA is great for the UFC.

Right now, you have the UFC, which is clearly Number 1, and then you have some also-rans. You have your WSOF or your ONE FC, your Bellator…you have all these other organizations, but it’s not like Showtime and HBO. Showtime has Floyd Mayweather and other top level names, and it’s the same with HBO. You’re dealing with a commensurate level of talent. You really don’t have that right now with MMA.

With MMA, you have Chris Weidman, Fabricio Werdum, Johny Hendricks, Robbie Lawler, Rory MacDonald, Rafael dos Anjos. These guys are monsters and are clearly, indisputably the best fighters in the world, and they are all in one organization. With all due respect, everyone in the other organizations are not at the same level.

We’re seeing that with Eddie Alvarez, who is an excellent fighter - was the champion over at Bellator and had some great fights with Michael Chandler, who is also another excellent fighter. Those guys are just not as good as the best fighters in the world in the UFC.

Bellator also has to get somebody with a big name. Tito is a step in the right direction. I think that’s what’s really going to help them. Say if Chris Weidman’s contract was up, and he went over to Bellator… holy shit! Now you’ve got some action.

Steph DanielsWe might have gotten the chance to see Chad Mendes in Bellator, as his contract recently came up for renewal, and he stated in an interview that he toyed with the idea of free agency to find out what his market value was. The UFC swooped down and ended up making him an offer so good that he signed for another 8 fights.

Joe RoganThat’s why competition is good, because if there were none, that offer wouldn’t be available. There would be no reason why they would do that. That’s one way where having Bellator around is great for the athletes. And for that reason, I’m 100% in support of it.

Competition makes everybody up their game. And unlike everybody that is involved in the business aspect of the UFC, I like the competition. I like Bellator. I like Scott. I like Kevin. Jimmy Smith is a buddy, a close friend of mine. We talk to each other all the time. I love that guy.

I tried to get Jimmy hired on for the UFC, but Viacom made him a better deal. They did that because he’s a very talented guy and they didn’t want to lose that. He’s supposed to be "my competition" or something like that, but I consider him my friend and colleague. We get together and talk and trade fight stories and training stories.

Competition in the world of MMA, or in any world, is great for everybody. It forces everybody to work harder. Jimmy is a great commentator and him being a great commentator is great for me. It makes me want to aspire to a higher standard. If there was nobody out there but me doing this, I would still do my best, but having a guy like Jimmy out there, who is really good, as well, just makes me better at it.

It’s the same way with standup comedy, with martial arts, and with just about everything in life. We can call it competition, but I think of it more as inspiration. Having other people that you can look at and watch, that are also doing it, or maybe doing it differently, or they have a different perspective or a different take on things… it’s all good. I wish MMA organizations would look at it the same way.

I think they look at all the competition as someone that is trying to take from them, and they should be crushed. And maybe they have a reason to. Their reason is that they made this thing. If it wasn’t for the UFC’s considerable investment, in both money and time, MMA would be nowhere near the level that it’s at right now.

The level that we’re enjoying today is directly the result of the hard work and investment of the UFC and the athletes themselves. That’s why it’s sanctioned in every state except New York. That’s why we’ve had these amazing events. It’s why the Nevada Athletic Commission became the premiere governing body of MMA. And now the UFC has upped the drug testing. It’s all a direct result of the UFC.

No one is forcing the UFC into this anti-drug policy. The UFC is doing this on their own, voluntarily, and spending a ton of money in trying to clean up the sport. That’s probably why the UFC has this attitude about competition. I don’t have that kind of investment. My investment has purely been as a fan and as an employee who just wants to see everything work well. My take on it, as far as the fighters are concerned, is that I just want to see them prosper as much as possible in that small window that they have. That’s why I feel the way I feel about the Reebok deal or about fighter pay. Any time things like this come up, I think, ‘Does it cost the fighters money? Is it detrimental to the fighters? Is it negative to the fighters?’ If it is, I don’t like it.

Steph DanielsOn your podcast Schaub talked about how you can’t compare the UFC to the NFL because there’s no CBA between the UFC & the fighters. What’s your thoughts on a fighters union? Do you think fighters would benefit from forming a union or association & if you were a fighter is that something you’d be pushing for?

Joe RoganThere’s a lot of fighters that think that the union way is the only option. It’s certainly an interesting conversation. What about situations where not all the fighters are in the union. Say Miocic is in the union and Arlovski isn’t. Is Andrei going to be considered a scab, or is it his prerogative? Can he do what he wants or will he have to deal with pressure from these guys?

It could end up turning into the situation we find ourselves in with the culinary union, where they are trying to pressure the UFC into becoming union with the Station Casinos, and in doing so, they’re involved in all sorts of shady shit. We’ve all seen the videos of the Culinary Union outside the casinos harassing patrons as they go in. That’s terrible. Is that what we’re looking at? Because if so, I don’t like that.

There are some aspects of unions that are good. What they started out as, with the workers, where they try to get people good wages and benefits, I’m all for that. Would it work in MMA? I don’t know. If one guy is non-union and one guy is union - and it comes down to the union doing their thing and forcing a guy out of a competition because he’s not aligned with them - is that beneficial to the sport or the fighters?

You would have to have almost universal compliance. You would have to have a union that was so ethically and intelligently structured that there was no room for argument, and I just don’t see that being possible right now. I think the best hope for fighters is competition. Having Spike TV MMA around. I think Showtime should jump back into it. I think HBO should jump into it. The more, the better.

Steph DanielsYou told me last year that you were looking forward in your various career pursuits and that a few years from now, you might not be doing commentary any more. Is that still the case? Has anything changed that would either make you want to speed up or slow down that train of thought? Who do you think would be best suited as your replacement, if or when you do decide to step away?

Joe RoganWell, like I said, I think Jimmy Smith is the best guy out there. I think that the guys that the UFC have working for them are great, too. Brian Stann is fantastic. He’s a great guy. He’s a very intelligent person, and the way he stepped away from the sport, on his own terms, is admirable. He has a real future as a broadcaster.

He could be the president. I really believe that. Brian Stann could be the president of the United States. He’d probably make a good one, too. He’s an honest-to-God American hero. If you want an American hero that’s intelligent, makes sense, has a very nuanced view on world politics and understands what’s going on overseas, how about a guy who’s actually fought for our country - a guy who’s been in war and knows the horrors of it?

I don’t know what I’m going to do in the future. Sometimes, I think I’m done. And other times, I’ll come back from a card, and it was awesome, and I loved it. So, I’m in a different state of mind. When I’m there, and the UFC starts, there’s very few times where I wish I was somewhere else. When those fight cards start, I always think, ‘How fucking lucky am I? I get to be cage-side seeing some of the greatest fights in the world.’ Yeah, I’m at work and I have to talk, but whatever. That’s almost second nature for me, at this point.

I think if I do retire, I’ll end up doing the Fight Companion shows. Those are really fun.

Steph DanielsIf you could make a fight between any two athletes from any point in the sport’s history, what would that bout look like?

Joe RoganIt would be Cain Velasquez, around the second fight with Junior dos Santos, vs. Fedor, around his second fight with Nogueira. I’ve always wanted to see who was the best heavyweight ever, and now that Cain lost to Werdum, Fabricio is now in that conversation.

A lot of people say you have to look at a fighter’s entire body of work, and I agree with that. But, you’re talking about a guy who’s submitted both Fedor and Cain Velasquez, and he knocked out Mark Hunt. If he’s not in consideration, I don’t know who is.

I don’t think that the Fedor he fought was the same one that beat Cro Cop, but he’s still an excellent fighter. He’s still a really tough guy. I would just like to see the greatest heavyweight fighters of all time, in their primes, go at it.

I don’t think we see the talent level at heavyweight that we see in the other weight classes. There’s just not enough, and that’s undeniable. If we look at the 145 division…Good fucking God there are some amazing fighters. Guys like Makwan Amirkhani. That kid is wild, I love what he’s doing. How about Yair Rodriguez? He’s awesome, too. Charles Rosa, Conor McGregor, Max Holloway, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, there’s nothing like that in the heavyweight division.

So, what was the great era of heavyweights in MMA? My opinion is that it was the Pride days. I’ve said before that I thought Cain was the greatest heavyweight of all time. And if he’s not, then he’s Number 2. If he’s not the greatest, then Fedor is.

Steph DanielsWhat fighter excites you the most for the future of MMA right now?

Joe RoganThat’s a good question. There’s not just one. Conor, for sure. I pick him for a bunch of factors, and not just because he’s been able to knock out Dustin Poirier, Diego Brandao and smashed Dennis Siver the way he’s done. He’s wild and he’s fun to watch. I’ll fly across the world to watch Yair Rodriguez fight any day of the week. I love watching Ronda.

I love watching Joanna. She is so nasty. I’m really looking forward to the rematch with Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald. I can’t wait to see Donald Cerrone against Rafael dos Anjos. I love watching Cowboy. He takes chances and risks and that’s why so many fans love him. The universe favors bravery, and Donald is brave. There’s just so many great fighters right now.

Steph Daniels What fight did you like that everyone else seemed to hate?

Joe RoganI liked the Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather fight. Everybody was like, ‘That fight sucked,’ but I thought it was great. For people that expected to go and see a Rocky movie, that’s not your fight. But, for fans of the art of boxing, it’s a great fight, because Floyd Mayweather is an artist. And what he did in that ring against Manny is pretty goddamned impressive.

He’s an amazingly skilful boxer and is arguably the best boxer of all time. He’s 48-0 against world class competition. He rarely gets hit and he’s managed to beat the game that regularly chews people up and spits them out. Is it as exciting as watching Micky Ward vs. Arturo Gatti? No, it’s not. But, it’s a lot smarter. We saw what happened when Floyd fought Arturo. My God, they didn’t even look like they were doing the same sport. We need guys that are on a higher frequency, like him, to set the bar. Floyd is a master, and if you really enjoy boxing, you should enjoy watching him.

Steph DanielsWhat’s been your favorite walkout song, so far?

Joe RoganMatt Hughes coming out to Country Boy Can Survive is tough to beat. There’s been a bunch of them that are really good.

Steph DanielsDo you like elaborate ones like my personal favorite, the opera one that Akiyama comes out to?

Joe RoganOh, Akiyama coming out to the Sopranos song? [Laughs] Yeah, there’s a lot of good ones. I used to like when Jon Fitch came out to Rusty Cage, too.

Steph DanielsDo you still watch Glory? How do you think they’re doing at this point, and how do you think their future looks?

Joe RoganI’m a huge fan of Glory. I’m a huge fan of kickboxing, high-level Muay Thai, and striking. I think entertainment-wise, Glory puts on some spectacular fights. I don’t miss a single event. I love them. I hope they do very well and I’m a huge supporter of them. I tweet about the fights whenever they’re out and anything else they’re involved in. I don’t have any financial stake in them whatsoever, but I do my best to promote them.

Photo: Jamie Vernon/

I just think high-level kickboxing is extremely underrated as far as entertainment value goes. I think, when you see how much better these guys are at striking when there’s no takedowns, the level you’re seeing in kickboxing is so high. Look at Nieky Hoelzken, Rico Verhoeven, Artem Levin or Joe Schilling. These guys are really, really fun. I’m a huge fan of high-level kickboxing. I just don’t think it gets the credit it deserves here in the United States for whatever reason.

Dana White had a really interesting point. He said, ‘the public is spoiled on kickboxing because of the PKA Karate days,’ those ESPN shows with the bullshit PKA Karate stuff that was boring as fuck. It was so boring. Most of the guys are terrible. I think because of that people have this tainted idea of what kickboxing is. But, if they could watch Badr Hari fight Rico Verhoeven you would have a different opinion. Watch Raymond Daniels fight Nieky Hoelzken; you’re watching incredible technique and amazing fight.

That’s one of the things most people like about MMA: the striking. I think that especially for people that don’t train in Jiu-Jitsu or understand the ground game, watching Glory lets you watch the highest level kickboxing in the world, outside of Lion Fight.

I’m a big fan of Lion Fight. I kind of like the rules in Lion Fight a little bit more. They allow clinches and elbows, and I think those two factors alone make a difference. Allowing guys to fight in the clinch for prolonged periods is a big part of what Muay Thai is about. And so is throwing elbows. They’ve got some really high level stuff going on at Lion Fight. I’m just a big fan of striking, especially kickboxing. Huge fan.

Steph DanielsYou hunt a lot and were getting into it bigtime last year and you’ve even been on hunting shows, etc. What’s your next big game?

Joe RoganI’m going elk hunting in September, archery elk hunting with my friend Cameron Haines in Colorado. I’m actually putting off shoulder surgery to do it. I have a torn labrum, but I’m putting off the surgery until after that hunt so that I can practice my archery.

Steph DanielsHow was the bear? (Joe went on a bear hunt or two since our last interview)

Joe RoganIt was fun. It’s very delicious. My whole family eats it, even my little kids eat it, and they love it. I have a five year old and a seven year old, so they’re not really able to shoot a real bow yet, but they shoot a toy bow. I set it up for them and show them how to aim and hold the bow and their stance. They like doing it for fun. I’m not really into pressuring my kids into anything, though.

What my kids really like to do with me is art. We do a lot of art. We do a lot of drawing and painting. They’re really into that and they enjoy it. They do gymnastics and dance classes and all kinds of different things, but what I like to do with my kids is just encourage them to pursue anything that they find interesting. I don’t want to push them into anything. If I say, ‘Do you want to go shoot some bows now?’ And they say they want to paint, then we’ll go and paint.

The only thing is, if I had a son I would push him into martial arts, just to manage his temper. I know I had a huge-ass issue with anger when I was young, and I think part of that was my childhood and coming from a broken family with a violent father and being involved in a lot of domestic violence as a kid. I just had a lot of anger issues.

Martial arts helped me tremendously to filter that out and make me a calm person. It allowed me to achieve my potential and test my character; it pushed me and made me overcome adversity. I think that’s missing in a lot of people’s lives, especially young men. Young men don’t have any rites of passage, they don’t have any proving ground or any place they can put in the work and achieve results and show those results to themselves and see themselves improve and grow.

They don’t have any place they can make that clear connection in their minds between hard work, discipline, and focus, and results. I think that’s missing for a lot of people. That’s why you get people who are unreasonably cocky and confident and ‘bro’ behavior and all that stupid shit that people hate about young men.

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

I think a lot of that is because young men have this burning desire for competition, this desire to prove themselves, because that’s how you grow and develop. I don’t think there’s a better way to grow and develop through competition than martial arts. I think it’s incredibly important. It’s very difficult. And through that difficult pursuit you learn so much about yourself. You learn about character, about motivation, about the direct correlation between focus, hard work, discipline, and results.

That applies for the rest of your life, and it has made a huge difference in my life. I see it very clearly when I compare how I approach things to how some of my friends who are also comedians approach things. They haven’t ever competed in anything before and they have different thoughts about adversity and a different opinion about being uncomfortable or how to overcome different scenarios and obstacles.

I look at those things as not just challenges, but opportunities to grow. You’ve got to look at them like that, but sometimes people don’t. They look at it like it’s going to fuck you up, and any negative or difficult thing is going to be bad for you.

I think that would be the one thing I would do if I had sons. I would try to strongly encourage them to get involved in martial arts. But, I would try to do in a way where I didn’t overwhelm them. But, I wouldn’t want to push them in a way that made my kid think I was trying to get them to be me, or get them to be my little puppet.

I remember a lot about the way my parents raised me and about the negative things I felt when I was growing up, and I’ve tried very hard to address that with my kids. One of the things I do is whenever my kids do something wrong, if I correct them I always, always tell them I did the exact same wrong things and worse. Always.

I’m never saying, ‘You dummy, you loser, how come you’re not like me?’ I always say, ‘Look, I did everything you just did, and I did it just as bad, or worse even, because I was dumb. You’re smarter than me.’ I say things like that to my kids to encourage them to understand that life is a series of events that sometimes you don’t get right. Sometimes you mess them up, and when you do, that’s an opportunity for you to learn. Those uncomfortable feelings you have when you do something wrong? Don’t deny that you did something wrong. Recognize that uncomfortable feeling as a temporary feeling, but that the result of it is going to be an adjustment and growth. You’re going to learn and grow and get better and it’ll never happen again.

The real problem is when you do the same thing over and over again and you keep fucking up over and over again. That’s something we’ve got to avoid. Making mistakes is a part of being a person, and I always tell them, ‘I guarantee you, I’ve made way more mistakes than you, and I’m fine. Don’t worry about it, you’re going to be fine.’ I always hug them and tell them I love them and give them as much encouragement and enthusiasm as possible.  I never want them to feel that something is wrong with them. Part of growing as a human being is absorbing these experiences, going through them, and then using them as educational events.

Steph DanielsThe presidential race is in full swing so give me your thoughts on who the best candidate is and what you think of the whole mess of candidates, because there are some questionable ones in the running.

Joe RoganIt’s incredibly disappointing to see the list of human beings that are in the running to become the leader of the greatest nation the world has ever known. It’s incredibly disappointing to see that we still have this insanely corrupt process that has existed for years, that we’ve all grown up watching and thinking, ‘boy, I hope somebody fixes that,’ then realizing I’m fucking 47 years old and this shit isn’t getting fixed. It’s exactly the same as it was when I was 20. It’s the same goddamn system and it’ll be the same system when I die. The same system when my kids are my age.

I think you’ve got to get money out of politics. You can’t allow corporations to influence candidates. You can’t allow candidates to take ungodly sums of money from all of these different special interests and corporations that are ultimately going to want some sort of payback for that money. They’re going to want some sort of compensation.

That’s the system we find ourselves in now. Politicians spend the vast majority of their time fundraising. It’s all about who can raise the most money, who can get the most influence and who can get the most power behind them. Once they get into office they very rarely do anything they said they were going to do. It’s a cycle that has played out over and over again for our entire lives.

I’m not excited about any of these people. I’m not excited about Hillary or Jeb Bush, and I’m definitely not excited about Donald Trump being the fuckin’ president. It’s almost a joke at this point and I really don’t know how it gets changed.

Other than a radical overhaul of the system, I don’t see anything being any different. I see the corporations getting away with as much as they possibly can for as long as they possibly can and extracting as much money from the system as they possibly can. That’s what they’ve been doing and that’s what they’re going to continue to do unless something big happens. I don’t know what that big thing would be, but it’s going to take some event to change that. I don’t know if it’s a world war or a natural disaster, but there’s going to have to be some massive reset of the world we live in to get out of this pattern.

People don’t like change. People like things to be very predictable. Democrats vs. Republicans. ‘As a Republican all of my life I’ll vote Republican,’ or ‘As a Democrat I’ve always blah blah blah.’ We have this stupid fucking two party system. No one you’ll ever meet is 100% Republican or Democrat unless you’re some puppet that doesn’t look at things with any rational perspective but instead just adopt this predetermined pattern of thinking because it’s more convenient than thinking for yourself and forming your own opinions.

Most people form their own opinions and ideas and have a conglomeration of different philosophies and points of view. They might be pro-life and also pro-gay marriage. Or they might be pro-choice but think that marriage is bullshit and nobody should be able to get married. Who the fuck knows.

In the system we have now, this idea that there’s only two different candidates from two different camps, democrat or republican, is just stupid. It’s dumb. It’s a broken system that’s just overwhelmingly fraught with corruption. I don’t know what to do with it. I just really don’t.

I think the best thing you could do in this day and age is vote with your money, you know? The best way to incite change is to figure out a way to let these corporations or politicians know that you’re not going to support them or anything connected with them financially.

That’s one of the things about social media that we’re seeing today, that didn’t exist ten or twenty years ago. We didn’t see these kind of mass movements. Look at Baltimore. We had the same sort of police violence twenty years ago but there was never the kind of reaction you’re seeing from Baltimore or Ferguson. I think that could be what the future is.

I think when we’re all able to vote online we’ll see what people really want and what they really feel. Until that happens, you’re not going to see real debate. The Commission on Presidential Debates is a privately funded institution that decides who gets to debate and who doesn’t get to debate. You have to get 15% of the popular vote in polls, and they choose the polls. You have to get 15% in five polls to compete in the debate, and that’s why you see a Democrat and a Republican every single time.

You don’t see green party candidates or people with independent points of view. You don’t get that. If people could vote online, you would see a completely different perspective. As the power of online media becomes more and more of a part of our everyday lives, the Commission on Presidential Debates is not going to be nearly so important.

Right now, it’s all about getting on television and debating on television. But, television is dying while the online world is growing at a staggering pace. Obama is appearing on Marc Maron’s podcast this week. That’s giant. It’s crazy and it’s weird. It’s interesting because they’re sort of opening Pandora’s box. What happens from then on is going to be very weird.

It’s going to be very weird when people are debating issues in uncensored forums like podcasts in real time without any say whatsoever over how the content gets edited or what questions get asked. That’s what they’ve been trying to control for the longest time, and that’s something that frustrates people. You see politicians on television get lobbed softball questions from people who have been vetted and who don’t challenge them on their positions or ideas and it drives a lot of us crazy.

You’re seeing politicians on corporate controlled media like CNN and Fox News. The people at Fox News or CNN or any of these big media conglomerates play by the rules. The rules have been clearly established by corporations and they’re clearly established to benefit the candidates. They’re not there to benefit the people or the truth. They’re not there to broadcast reality and shed light on confusing issues. No, they just want to get people to tune is so they can continue to sell Cheerios or whatever the fuck they’re selling in their ads.

I think that’s all going to change. I think that’s going to change when the online world becomes more influential and powerful than the world of mass media, and I don’t think ‘they’ are going to be able to control that. Once that happens there’s not a goddamn thing they’ll be able to do about it. They’re just going to have to deal with it. When they do experience that huge shift, it’s going to be very weird to watch. Very weird.

I don’t think anybody is prepared for it. I don’t think anybody is prepared for a truthful, free, clear independent influence like the internet is.

Steph DanielsBefore we go, I know you’re a fan of True Detective, so are you looking forward to the new season that starts this Sunday?

Joe RoganYeah! It should be cool. It should be really fun. I love what HBO is doing. I’m a huge fan of HBO. I love what they did with Game of Thrones, and of course they started it all off with The Sopranos. I think they’ve created some of the most compelling programming in television history. I think it’s a cool time for people that are fans of really cool television shows.

There has never been a time like this with so many great shows. It’s also indicative of the fact that, with so many different networks, for something to really stand out it has to be amazing. It’s hard to make movies these days because a lot of people who were making movies are making television shows instead.

HBO kind of gets these really talented people and leaves them alone to make amazing shit. If they were working on a movie, there would be a movie studio with their greedy little fingers all over the stuff. You don’t see that as much with HBO. And because of that you’re seeing this amazing surge of really creative and unusually well done stuff. There hasn’t been a time in history that has had the amount of high quality shows we have now. I think this is the greatest age for media consumption ever.

Then you also have Netflix. I think you’re seeing that influence things. Netflix has however many fucking millions of subscribers and they’re a legit network now. They’re a legit network you can tune into on demand. They also do this amazing thing where they give you the entire season at once, I love that!

I’ve been watching Marco Polo too. I’m a big history freak, so I’m a huge fan of Dan Carlin’s Hardcore History podcast. He did this amazing series on Genghis Khan called Wrath of the Khans. They did an amazing job with Marco Polo. It’s a really cool time to be paying attention to television.

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