Joe Rogan is a lot of things to a lot of people – to some, a stand-up comedian/actor, to others, a podcast host/occasional conspiracy theorist. But to MMA fans, he's largely known as a guy who's name has become almost synonymous with the UFC over the past 20 years, and beyond that, just a genuinely huge fan of the sport and those who compete in it (even if he never would).
One needs no more evidence of Rogan's rabid enthusiasm for all things MMA than to witness his emotion-filled reactions to some of the crazier fights and finishes that have happened in his time as a color commentator. And this year, there isn't a fight that will likely have a chance of touching Darren Elkins' insane come-from-behind KO of Mirsad Bektic at #UFC209 in either category.
Having been on-hand for the incredible fight, Rogan could not contain himself when discussing it after the fact during a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, his reaction said a lot for what MMA means to a lot of its fans, and what truly separates it from many of the other sports out there.
"He took a f*cking beating for two and a half rounds and didn't give up an inch," said Rogan. "There was no quit in him. And then finally in the third round he catches that guy, and there's this f*cking roar that he did after that fight was stopped, where he throws his arm back and he's moving around the cage and screaming and he's covered in blood. God...I have to wipe tears off my eyes right now."
For those who might think Rogan is being a little overdramatic here, this might be a good time to remind you that, even at 49 years old, Joe Rogan is still a supreme badass (and so, for that matter, is Darren Elkins).
It's a hard thing to explain to those who might not follow (or are just beginning to follow) the sport, but Elkins' performance at UFC 209 was just...reality-defying. The cliche way to put it would be "like something out of a movie." Anyone who's been a fan of this sport for as long as Rogan has knows how regularly it tends to almost enjoy cutting Cinderella stories down before us – look at how it chose to send Brad Pickett into retirement, for Christ's sake – so to see it occassionally work out in the favor for a veteran of the sport like Elkins is, well, it restores your hope. Not just in MMA, but in hope itself in some small, twisted degree.
I know I'm sounding like a dope right now, but that's just the power this sport has to some people. And when it does, that's when it should truly be celebrated.