Joe Rogan releases statement on questionable commentary at UFC 223
Joe Rogan has explained why Khabib Nurmagomedov's dominance was not exactly reflected in his commentary on Saturday night.
Rogan came in for some criticism after seemingly letting on that Nurmagomedov's five-round beating of late replacement Al Iaquinta was more tightly contested than it actually was.
'The Eagle' kept his perfect professional record going by besting Iaquinta in all departments and his superiority was rightly rewarded with a unanimous decision of 50-44, 50-43 and 50-43 as Nurmagomedov became undisputed lightweight champion.
While the main event of UFC 223 was taking place, Rogan's excitement levels clearly rose every time Iaquinta would land a glancing blow whereas Nurmagomedov's performance was ridiculed on several occasions by the long-time UFC colour commentator.
Rogan has listened to the criticism and responded with a considered social media post on Sunday night.
Rogan wrote: "It is insanely rare to have a fighter as dominant as Khabib Nurmagomedov in one of the most talent-stacked divisions to go 25 and 0 is incredible, but to do it without even having a rough moment in a fight is completely unheard of. The closest thing to adversity he’s had to face in the Octagon before Saturday was one solid punch that was landed by Michael Johnson in a fight that was otherwise a horrifically one-sided mauling.
"When I’m commentating on someone that dominant I am constantly looking for cracks in their armour, and on Saturday night we saw the first of those cracks exposed by an incredibly game Al Iaquinta. Most people, myself included, expected the highly favored Khabib to rag doll his last minute opponent the way he’s done to everyone else he faced in the Octagon, and that was the case in the early going, but as the fight got into the later rounds Al was able to keep the fight standing and we saw some possible flaws in Khabib’s defence.
"Make no mistake about it, Khabib won that fight by a landslide, but it went to a decision, and that in and of itself was an upset. When I’m looking at a fighter as spectacularly talented as Khabib fighting a guy like Al who is an almost impossible underdog I’m not just looking at this fight, but I’m looking at openings that can possibly be exploited by the best fighters in the division.
"I saw some of those openings Saturday night, and I certainly found them interesting. In no way am I biased against Khabib, in fact, I’m a massive fan of his and he’s one of my all-time favourite fighters. If any of you were annoyed by my concentrating on that aspect of an incredibly dominant performance by one of the most impressive guys in the history of the division, please accept my sincere apology.
"When I commentate on fights my goal is to highlight the action and make it more exciting for the fans at home. Obviously, all this is done live in real time, and if I had to go back and do it again I would often be able to do a better job. Even after all the years I’ve been commentating I still learn something new about the position with each and every event, and when that stops happening that will most likely be when I quit."