Dana White, Joe Rogan Named to Variety 500 as Key Influential Figures in Global Media

UFC president Dana White and UFC commentator Joe Rogan were recently named to the Variety 500 as two of the “most influential business leaders shaping the global media industry.”

Both White and Rogan were mentioned in the Live Entertainment section of the list, joining the likes of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NBA commissioner Adam Silver, WWE president Nick Khan, to name a few. The selection process for the overall list can be viewed here.

White’s entry focuses on his stance on vaccinations and the promotion’s approach to holding events during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“White declared the Ultimate Fighting Championship would never require its fighters to be vaccinated, continuing his controversially contrary approach to coronavirus safety,” the entry reads. “Under the UFC’s contract with ESPN, the league was required to stage 42 fights in 2020, and White did his best to deliver, putting on UFC 249 in Florida in May and holding a series of fights in the league’s Las Vegas production facilities, all without an audience, before moving the action to Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island (dubbed Fight Island), where several thousand fans were allowed to watch the matches in-person. Beginning in the spring of 2021, White began holding full-scale UFC events in the U.S., with no masks or social distancing required.”

Rogan meanwhile, is selected primarily for the lucrative podcast deal he signed with Spotify in 2020, as his UFC work is only mentioned in passing. A longtime analyst for the promotion, Rogan has cut back on his pay-per-view appearances for the UFC in recent months, but he remains a staple at the biggest events. His entry is as follows:

“In the wake of signing a $100 million Spotify deal in 2020, Rogan and his podcast “The Joe Rogan Experience” became a favorite target of critics for his attacks on “woke” culture and vaccine passports, and his controversial guests including conspiracy-loving radio host Alex Jones,” the entry reads. “He inspired internal protests by Spotify employees, who alleged that the podcast was transphobic. To top that off, he ignited a fresh firestorm in September when he admitted that he had contracted COVID-19 and was treating it with ivermectin, a drug meant for parasitic infections, not viruses. And none of that seemed to harm the popularity of his show. Rogan, who has worked as a sitcom actor (“NewsRadio,” 1995-99) and reality-series host (“Fear Factor,” 2001-06, 2011-12), continues to perform stand-up and do color commentary for UFC matches.”



Which event are you most looking forward to this weekend?