Two of the oldest faces in the UFC have landed on a key roster of the world’s most powerful artists.
UFC President Dana White and longtime broadcast analyst Joe Rogan are on the 2021 Variety 500, an annual list published by Variety magazine of “the most powerful people in the global entertainment industry. and the media “.
White and Rogan are on the Live Entertainment section of the list. This section includes WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan, veteran radio host Howard Stern, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and musical theater legend Andrew Lloyd Webber.
White’s entry includes a caption under a reasonably outdated photo ID that read: “While other sports league leaders take a tough line on pandemic safety, he’s thumbing his nose at issues of coronavirus. “
The entry leads with White’s position on UFC fighters and COVID-19 vaccinations.
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“White has stated that the Ultimate Fighting Championship will never require its fighters to be vaccinated, continuing its controversial and unsafe approach to coronaviruses,” the entry from White reads. “Under the UFC’s contract with ESPN, the league was required to host 42 fights in 2020, and White did his best to deliver, hosting UFC 249 in Florida in May and. staging a series of fights at the league’s production facilities in Las Vegas, all without an audience, before moving the action to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island (nicknamed Fight Island), where several thousand fans were allowed to watch matches in person. Starting in the spring of 2021, White began hosting large-scale UFC events in the United States, with no masks or social distancing required. “
Rogan’s entry also features a passport photo far beyond his heyday – from when Rogan still had hair and wasn’t a razor. His caption reads: “He and his unrestricted podcast have proven to be cancellable-proof in the face of multiple controversies. “
To be sure, Rogan’s inclusion on the roster has everything to do with the massive Spotify contract he landed in 2020 for his podcast and very little, if anything, to do with his work with the UFC.
“Following the signing of a $ 100 million Spotify deal in 2020, Rogan and his podcast ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ have become a prime target of critics for his attacks on ‘awake’ culture and vaccine passports. , and his controversial guests, including the conspirators. radio host Alex Jones, ”Rogan’s entry read. “It inspired internal protests from Spotify employees, who alleged the podcast was transphobic. To top it off, he sparked another firestorm in September when he admitted he had contracted COVID-19 and treated it with ivermectin, a drug for parasitic infections, not viruses. And none of it seemed to detract from the popularity of his show. Rogan, who has worked as a sitcom actor (“Newsradio”, 1995-99) and reality TV host (“Fear Factor”, 2001-06, 2011-12), continues to stand-up and comment on in color for UFC matches. “
Rogan has reduced his live commentary duties in the UFC in recent years to only include pay-per-view events. And even with that, he didn’t do them all. His polarizing stance on handling his COVID-19 case in the fall of 2021 was echoed by White, who said in early December his entire immediate family was positive for the virus – and that he had followed Rogan’s advice on how to treat it.
After a few weeks off for the holidays, UFC returns to action next week with UFC on ESPN 32 at UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
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