During the UFC 285 match between Shavkat Rakhmonov and Geoff Neal, commentator and podcast host Joe Rogan demonstrated his quick thinking and concern for safety.
Rogan, who was seated ringside, noticed that Rakhmonov’s gumshield had fallen out during the opening round and brought it to the attention of referee Herb Dean, who had failed to notice the situation.
Dean is infamous for being a bit slow to catch onto things. This has been a source of a lot of comic relief over the years including a series of Herb Dean running memes. UFC veteran and coach also lampooned Dean’s complete lack of vigilance on the job in a comedic video earlier this year.
As a seasoned MMA commentator and former martial artist, Rogan understands the importance of safety. In this instance, his quick thinking and action potentially prevented serious injury to Rakhmonov. Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier also expressed similar concerns.
The incident underscores the vital role that referees, commentators, and other officials play in ensuring the safety of mixed martial artists.
This isn’t the first time someone confronted Dean about his failings. Previously UFC veteran Dan Hardy reportedly got out of his seat to confront Dean about a refereeing failure. This wasn’t as well received and the promotion wound up firing Hardy later.
Rogan’s actions demonstrated his willingness to go beyond his role as a commentator to assist in maintaining safety. Fellow pundit Daniel Cormier jokingly pointed out that Rogan now had two jobs: commentator and officiating assistant.
MMA ref makes from $1700 to $2500 for refereeing a bout. If he or she referees multiple events on a card, they can make upto $5000.
And in case you’re not familiar – NFL refs make $200K per year, Basketball NBA refs make between $150-$500k and Ice hockey stick and puck NHL refs median salary is $67K.
However, Rogan’s actions also highlight the need for greater support and resources for officials, such as additional trained personnel to help monitor safety. While UFC has plenty of referees, their pay is not exactly other worldly.