Dana White on Joe Rogan Credit: Club Shay Shay Podcast

Howard Cosell was on the call for many of the biggest boxing matches of all time, including many of Muhammad Ali’s signature moments. To many, Cosell is the greatest combat sports announcer ever. But in a recent interview, UFC CEO Dana White made the case for UFC commentator Joe Rogan over the hallowed Cosell.

Discussing the importance of Rogan to the UFC and the sport of MMA in an interview on the Club Shay Shay podcast released Wednesday, White explained why Rogan is the superior broadcaster. To White, it comes down to the lived experience and passion for combat sports versus a traditional reporter’s perspective.

“One of the key components to [the growth of the UFC] was Joe Rogan, who is the greatest play-by-play fight guy ever,” White told host Shannon Sharpe. “He’s a guy who’s really educated on the sport, he’s actually done it, loves and respects the sport and the athletes. And Joe Rogan had this ability to walk you through what was happening before it actually happened. And jiu jitsu as a sport and as a martial art completely took off and everybody started training in it.”

White explained that Rogan helped bring the sport into the mainstream by explaining to viewers the art of the “ground game” that is unique to mixed martial arts. Fight fans understood boxing and most viewers were aware of martial arts, but Rogan detailed the athletic ability and technique that went into being a great MMA fighter to the first generation of UFC diehards.

“He’s better than Howard Cosell. Howard Cosell never actually trained in it and could speak about it with the love and passion that Rogan does,” White argued.

White saw not only the growth of his league skyrocket from there, but the popularity of the sport as well. Training jiu-jitsu became more popular as a means of working out and staying in shape, from expensive gyms in Silicon Valley to people’s backyards.

“Joe Rogan was one of the best moves that I made early on in building this company,” White said. “There were a few key people I brought in that I believe helped get us to where we are today, and Joe Rogan is absolutely, positively one of those people. And Joe Rogan will go down in history as one of the greatest combat sports play-by-play guys or color guys, whatever you want to call him.”

While older fight fans can debate between Cosell and Rogan all day, White’s perspective removes the curtain on what makes Rogan special. He is often discussed primarily as a controversial podcast host, but he had an impact on MMA broadcasting as well. Rogan cut through because of his fervent excitement around the sport and its biggest moments. He is also among its most diligent reporters, interviewing countless fighters over his nearly two decades hosting The Joe Rogan Experience.

Perhaps because of his increasingly reactionary political views and the constant controversy around the UFC, Rogan is overlooked. But while he may not have the reverence of Cosell, Rogan is as prolific a combat sports announcer as anyone, and perhaps anyone in sports announcing more broadly.

[Club Shay Shay on YouTube]

About Brendon Kleen

Brendon is a Media Commentary staff writer at Awful Announcing. He has also covered basketball and sports business at Front Office Sports, SB Nation, Uproxx and more.