Longtime UFC color commentator Joe Rogan has been taking a lot of heat lately.
Recently, the 54-year-old podcaster and stand-up comedian got flak for promoting misinformation about the COVID-19 pandemic. He was also chastised for the repeated use of the N-word after a video compilation from podcast episodes from years ago had surfaced, leading to Spotify pulling now over a hundred episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience from its platform.
As many would probably expect, many in the UFC and MMA community sided with Rogan. One of the recent additions to that list is former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans, who had this to say in a recent TMZ Sports interview.
“It’s a very tough problem. That compilation of the N-word, it’s hard to go against that. But I know Joe and I know the kind of person Joe is. Joe’s never gave me any kind of feeling or any kind of indication that he’s racist or anything like that,” he said.
“I believe that people just make some off-color remarks sometimes. If you’re a comedian, you do that quite a bit. You get comfortable at doing that. And I just feel like — not to excuse any of it, but at the same time, when you go back that far, I’m sure there can be a compilation of a lot of unfavorable things that a lot of people have said that they can come back and bite them.”
Evans says society tends to “give certain people a pass” when it comes to things that are said. And he went political with his answer on this one.
“Our president is one they gave a pass to. There’s many things that I’ve heard him say that sounded racist and I’ve heard him use the N-word in context, like how Joe used it,” he said.
“That’s completely overlooked. He was considered to be the savior of people of color and supposed to be this guy to bring the nation together. But all of his past racism was overlooked. His affiliation with racist people was overlooked and all those kind of things.
“People can change. So I’m not saying he’s a racist or anything like that, but people can change, and people do change.”
Spotify refuses to cancel Rogan despite these controversies, and Evans says the UFC should do the same. For him, Joe is a mere victim of modern-day circumstance.
“I think (the UFC) should stand by Joe Rogan. I don’t think that those allegations and the compilation, I don’t think that it speaks to who Joe Rogan is now,” Evans said.
“I don’t think Joe Rogan is that person. I don’t think he is that racist person. With the relationships I’ve seen him have, and how he’s treated me, I don’t think a racist person would be like that. I just think we’re in a place in our culture where if people don’t like what you have to say, then you get canceled.
“And when that’s the case, you walk a line that inevitably is gonna bite everybody.”
Rogan recently spoke up about the matter, saying everything is a “political hit job.”