The best shot of the round wasn’t Rafael Dos Anjos’ left hook to the dome of Conor McGregor. It was the jab from Snoop Dogg that immediately followed.
“I wonder what Joe Rogan would’ve said,” Snoop cracked. Then he rolled into something that sounded like Beavis as Cornholio.
Snoop, whose affection for EA Sports over the years is well-known, was recruited to provide voice commentary for UFC 3’s Knockout Mode. That’s a simplified Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robots game mode that always ends with the loser hitting the deck. It’s the perfect setting for some couch commentary from a friend who may or may not have been burning agricultural products when it was all recorded.
But what Snoop’s referring to is even more hilarious if you’re in the know. Joe Rogan, the lead announcer for the UFC and its video games, hated doing video game commentary (apparently the live stuff is still OK). He flat-out said so on his podcast back in 2016.
“There was so much to do. It was a constant grind,” Rogan said. “I put my full effort into it, I really wanted it to be good.” But after two games, it was too much.
Brian Hayes, EA Sports UFC 3’s creative director, candidly admitted to USgamer back in January that the game had no new live commentary from Rogan because he just couldn’t do it anymore. And EA couldn’t get a new announcer because, for verisimilitude, Rogan is the voice of UFC fights and has been a TV commentator for the organization since 2002. Hayes admitted that EA had to make do with his old commentary library from EA Sports UFC and UFC 2, supplemented with some audio cut from UFC pay-per-view broadcasts.
That’s how you get Snoop Dogg as the series’ big commentary upgrade, and you know what? He’s not half bad! I apologize for taking Tony Ferguson (the interim lightweight champion) up against Chad Laprise (unranked) here, but I was trying to beat ass galore in hopes of eliciting a big reaction from Snoop.
Players have two commentary options for KO Mode — Snoop only, or Snoop with Rogan. It sometimes sounds like Snoop is sitting on a sofa with a microphone in one hand, punching buttons on a Joe Rogan soundboard with the other, which is its own kind of funny.
I asked an EA Sports rep how the developers managed to bring in Snoop, a busy man whose current gigs include hosting The Joker’s Wild and a cooking show with Martha Stewart. The short answer is, his love for EA Sports games is well-known and genuine (he’s done multiple appearances for the label over the years). After E3 2015, he was rallying petition signers to try to get NCAA Football 13 made backward-compatible on Xbox One. I’ve seen him at E3 a couple of times too, including once in the closed-doors booth when he got whooped at that game by its producer.
After the development team heard him do commentary with Urijah Faber on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series last year, they decided to reach out. Snoop, obviously, said yes. Here’s a supercut of some of his greatest hits.
Knockout Mode, introduced in EA Sports UFC 2 in 2016, is otherwise unchanged. It’s there as a super-casual experience, or a chaser after some of the more intense and complicated bouts in online multiplayer or career mode. Snoop’s commentary does not show up elsewhere in the game; it’s just in Knockout Mode, which is offline only.
We’ll have our full review of EA Sports UFC 3 by Friday, when the game launches on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.