A few days removed from their emotionally charged conversation, UFC heavyweight Brendan Schaub and commentator Joe Rogan each retreated to their own corners to reflect on the incident.
Recording an episode of Schaub’s podcast for FOX Sports earlier this week, Rogan was critical of the former’s recent first-round TKO loss to No. 3 heavyweight Travis Browne at UFC 181 on Dec. 6.
Rogan indicated a concern for Schaub’s mental health, citing his multiple knockout losses in the UFC career dating back to 2009. Of Schaub’s five career defeats, four have come via either KO or TKO. The lone exception being a split decision loss to Andrei Arlovski at UFC 174 in June.
Recalling the conversation on his podcast Wednesday, Schaub sounds as if he was blindsided by Rogan’s comments.
“We’re sitting down and, I mean, he literally just thrashes me to the fullest extent,” Schaub said. “You heard me going ‘huh, huh,’ because if I would have spoke you would have heard me crying. I was trying not to cry. My phone blew up. I had 40-45 text messages from friends, family. People going, ‘Walk out right now. Don’t take this right now.
“I don’t agree with Rogan. Some of his points I do agree with. There’s some stuff when you lay it out and look at numbers I can see why he thinks I should move on [from fighting]. The truth is I make about as much doing this show as I do in the UFC. That’s the truth, it’s about identical.”
Schaub said he understood Rogan’s concerns and urges to pursue more creative endeavors rather than continue his fighting career, but that he believes he can still be elite in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
“Do I think I can compete at a high level and still kind of do [the podcast]? 100 percent. 100 percent. I disagree with him there. It’s a fine line between hanging it up and moving on and continuing to fight. Have I had concussions? 100 percent. It’s documented. You’ve seen me in the UFC. I played football for 20 years. I’d rather live my life for 50 years being a warrior than live to 100 being a freaking gazelle. Being a peasant. 100 years as a peasant? Nah, I’ll take the 50 glories.”
Schaub said he eventually broke down in tears once he go home, not really knowing who to talk to about the conversation.
On his own podcast, Rogan gave his take on the awkward and emotional situation with Schaub.
“It was intense,” said Rogan. “I still feel like s**t. I feel like s**t today. I felt like s**t while we were doing it.
“[Schaub] wanted to talk about it on the air and I asked him if he was sure. He was like, ‘Yea absolutely. I want to get it out there. I want to hear exactly what you really think.’ I’m sure what he thought I would think and what I did think was different. Then as we were talking I kind of realized, I feel like his perceptions of where he’s at and the dangers of what has happened to him and the reality of where he’s at and the dangers of what have happened to him were off.”
Rogan admitted that the conversation likely should have been held in private, but that hopefully it would serve to help athletes form an educated opinion on chronic brain damage.
“I f***ing love that dude,” Rogan said of Schaub. “He’s really honest. He’s really honest about everything except his fighting ability. I think his fighting ability, or his position, he’s got a slightly elevated sense. But that’s why he’s a bad motherf***er. You have to have this sense that’s almost distorted in order to be a fighter in the first place.”
Rogan explained that while Schaub is supremely confident in his abilities as a fighter, that same spirit could be holding him back.
“If you lose and you start looking at yourself in a delusional way it can hamper your ability to work on all those areas. Any time you have a delusional perspective, an introspective outlook that’s just not accurate, you’re not doing yourself a favor. You need someone else to give you advice. You’re not seeing things that you can correct. When you’re in that state as a martial artist it becomes very dangerous.”
Rogan then cited Schaub’s 2011 KO victory of Mirko CroCop at UFC 128, saying it should serve as the ultimate example to prove his point.