Why was a concussed Daniel Cormier interviewed after UFC 214 loss to Jon Jones?
ANAHEIM, Calif. – A dazed Daniel Cormier stood inside the octagon with a microphone and a camera in his face a few minutes after his loss to Jon Jones in the light heavyweight title match atop Saturday’s UFC 214 card at Honda Center.
Longtime UFC analyst Joe Rogan asked Cormier, whose face and head had just absorbed a series of strikes from Jones, for Cormier’s thoughts. Those thoughts were clearly hard to arrange.
“I don’t know man,” said Cormier, who was diagnosed with a concussion minutes later. “I thought the fight was going well. I really don’t know what happened. I guess I got kicked in the head.”
The interview angered Cormier’s coach Javier Mendez.
“He had no business being interviewed,” Mendez said in a text message to USA TODAY Sports. “Bad move. Rogan probably feels bad.”
UFC President Dana White said the interview didn’t come on orders from UFC officials.
“They told Rogan not to do the interview with him,” White said. “Rogan did it (anyway). You have to let the guy talk. I think you have to let the guy talk.”
Cormier was punched several more times on the ground before the fight was finally halted by referee John McCarthy. White said the fight could been stopped “three, four or five punches earlier.”
Cormier was diagnosed with a concussion, Mendez said. Cormier was under observation at UC Irvine Medical Center as of midnight PT Saturday, hospital spokesperson Tom Vasich said in an email.
Rogan said on air after the interview that he “violated” his own rule on interviewing fighters who had just been knocked out. Rogan said on his popular podcast last year that he wasn’t doing any interviews with knocked out fighters.
“I don’t care (if producers request it).” Rogan said. “I’m not doing it.”
USA TODAY Sports attempted to talk to Rogan after he completed his broadcasting duties on the night, but he cited prior obligations and walked into a secure area of Honda Center.
While Cormier hadn’t yet been diagnosed with a concussion at the time of the interview, most observers in the arena and watching on pay-per-view had armchair evaluated Cormier.
Mendez said Rogan likely realized quickly that Cormier was not himself.
“I am pretty sure he didn’t know ‘DC’ had a concussion (before the interview began),” Mendez said. “I’m sure it was after (the interview started Rogan) is when he realized ‘DC’ was not (all) there.”
Rogan asked only two questions, the second on the rivalry with Jones that was played up in the months leading up to UFC 214.
“I don’t know, man,” Cormier said. “I guess if he wins both fights, there is no rivalry. I don’t know.”
For more on UFC 214. check out the UFC Events section of the site.