http://unlimitedfightnews.com/wordpress/?p=1429 SAY IT AIN’T SO, JOE: IS JOE ROGAN QUITTING THE UFC? Posted in April 15th, 2008 by rich.bergeron in Blogroll, MMA, Mixed Martial Arts, Rich Bergeron, UFCBy: Rich Bergeron Will Joe Rogan (L) be replaced as Mike Goldberg's Sidekick? The official word on the streetis that Joe Rogan will not be commentating for this weekend’s UFC 83 event in Montreal, leaving decorated UFC Veteran Kenny Florian to take over temporarily. However, chatter coming into the Fight News Unlimited offices point to more than just “unspecified previous obligations” preventing Rogan from lending his comic voice to the Pay-Per-View broadcast, and his absence may not be temporary. Fight News Unlimited received information from a reliable source recently pointing to a possible Carlos Mencia-esque rift between Rogan and UFC President Dana White. No, Dana White’s not stealing Rogan’s jokes, but rumor has it that White recently mandated that there be absolutely no mention of Randy Couture’s name in any future UFC broadcasts. Rogan has been outspoken about Couture and the impact of Captain America's departure on the UFC and the sport of MMA. The comedian/commentator may have also gone way overboard in pissing the bald guy off with his latest ESPN Interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuIwTzDCDFY As far as what previous obligations might be the reason for Rogan’s skipping out on his commentary duties, an Internet canvas revealed no news on that front except a mention of Rogan appearing on a radio show this coming Friday morning. If it really is a prior commitment keeping Rogan off the air, it’s either a family thing or a private gathering. The only other possibility is whatever public event Rogan might be participating in hasn’t publicized his involvement all that much. A source close to White reported recently that the ornery, outspoken UFC president has been incensed over the Couture debacle. Mark Cuban’s recent victory in getting part of the dispute remanded to the Texas courts obviously couldn’t have helped alleviate White’s frustrations. There are also reports of layoffs at UFC headquarters, though they don’t appear to be at all related to the Couture case or Joe Rogan. Though there have been many theories as to why the UFC’s talks with HBO broke down over the broadcasting deal that never got done, reports pointed to HBO requiring their own commentators in order to ratify the agreement. Dana White reportedly balked at the suggestion at first, but in the interest of getting something signed he later agreed. Somewhere down the line, between April and October of 2007, the whole deal fell apart. UFC officials also failed to get anything wrapped up with CBS, which instead signed with EliteXC. Rogan’s willingness to speak his mind about controversial issues, his understanding and appreciation of the sport, and his name recognition would likely make him an easy fit for any other organization in the industry looking for an influx of star power. He did call Mark Cuban a “bad MoFo” on ESPN, so maybe there’s a possibility he could wind up at HDNet Fights somewhere down the line. Perhaps he’ll follow Tito Ortiz and go wherever “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” decides to call home after his next fight. Though it’s not yet official by any means, Rogan’s retreat (even if it is only rumored) illustrates the serious issues looming for the UFC. I haven't been able to verify what kind of contractual obligations Rogan might have to the UFC, but I don't foresee a dispute anywhere near the level of "Couturegate" if Rogan does depart the league. However, if even a comedian can’t have a sense of humor about the situation, there could be big trouble ahead for the top dogs of the MMA circuit.