Joe Rogan, the longtime announcer of the UFC, will no longer be calling the action at UFC 271 on Saturday.
TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter confirmed that Rogan will not be at the event because of a “scheduling conflict.” He is still scheduled to appear at UFC 272 in March. Rogan was set to provide commentary with Jon Anik and Daniel Cormier, but former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping will replace him.
Bisping posted a video on social media of him sitting on a plane with the caption “off to [Houston],” confirming the switch.
— michael (@bisping) February 11, 2022
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The sudden change comes during a time in which Rogan has been mired in controversy stemming from his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” There has been backlash over guests on his show spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 and vaccines. Several high-profile musicians, including Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, have taken their work off Spotify in protest.
Rogan has also faced criticism after old footage showing him using racial slurs multiple times recently resurfaced online. When Dana White was asked about Rogan’s situation, UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya jumped in and defended the 54-year-old Rogan.
“I’ve been in this fight game since 2008, and Joe Rogan is one of the nicest, coolest, humble motherf—ers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, understand that,” Adesanya said at the UFC 271 pre-fight press conference.
MORE: Adesanya offers support to Joe Rogan amid racism claims
“The Joe Rogan Experience” has over 11 million subscribers on YouTube and a very active following on Spotify. Rogan has over eight million followers on Twitter.
The main event of UFC 271 will feature Adesanya defending the middleweight title against Robert Whittaker.