A little over a month has passed since five-time CrossFit Games winner Mat Fraser announced his retirement from competitive CrossFit, and he’s been staying busy. In addition to producing his own podcast — Josh Mat Sevan — the all-time CrossFit GOAT joined the all-time podcast GOAT Joe Rogan for an episode of the Joe Rogan Experience. The episode aired on March 11, 2021, and is exclusively on Spotify, though clips of the show will appear on YouTube.
On episode 11 of Josh Mat Sevan, which aired on March 9, 2021, co-host Sevan Mattossian leaks news of Fraser’s appearance on JRE and puts him on the spot. Fraser jokes around and then, essentially confirming the news, says: “In all seriousness, I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about that. I don’t know the contingencies that go into that.” You can check out that portion of the podcast at the 11:45 mark in the video below, courtesy of the podcast’s namesake YouTube channel:
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Mat Fraser is, without doubt, one of the most popular faces and names in the CrossFit community. He has 2.3 million followers on Instagram, 153,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel (within a month of launching it), and sponsorship deals with top brands like Rogue and Nike. But being on the Joe Rogan podcast is an introduction into the mainstream unlike any other.
Rogan, a famed comedian, former Fear Factor host, and UFC commentator, has the most lucrative and popular podcast currently in existence. In May of 2020, the Wall Street Journal reported that Rogan inked a deal with Spotify worth a reported $100 million. While the number of downloads isn’t officially known, Rogan once said (in 2019) that he received 190 million downloads per month. That’s more than half of the population of the United States.
Another reason for Rogan’s immense popularity is his ability to appeal to all sorts of audiences. He has fighters on his podcasts. He has politicians (like Bernie Sanders and Andrew Yang) on his podcast. He has astrophysicists (Neil deGrasse Tyson) on his podcast. He talks with hunters, strongmen, bodybuilders, former Google employees, rappers, even conspiracy theorists. If you’re a person with a pulse and even a slight interest in anything, then there’s a Joe Rogan podcast for you. For Fraser, this is exposure on a whole other level.
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While he hasn’t expressed any controversial opinions on CrossFit, Rogan has riffed on CrossFit before. In episode 1,291 of the Joe Rogan Experience with CT Fletcher, Rogan discusses rhabdomyolysis (when you work out so hard your muscle fibers die and release into your bloodstream) and its prevalence in the CrossFit community. He also calls CrossFitters “ridiculously fit” and says that the sport is “definitely not bullshi*t.”
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Fraser — who won his fifth consecutive CrossFit Games title in 2020 — is the most prominent (if not only) CrossFit athlete to appear on Rogan’s show. Rogan has produced 1,618 episodes of his podcast, which officially launched in 2009.
Mat Fraser on JRE
Here are a variety of topics discussed on Fraser’s episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, which lasted nearly three hours.
Money in CrossFit
“Is there a lot of loot in CrossFit?” Rogan asked Fraser about halfway through. “Is it in the prize money or sponsorships?” Fraser said that sponsorships were far more lucrative and that at the 2020 Games, he walked away with $300,000 (he also received an additional $48,000 in event win bonuses).
“Three-hundred grand is nothing to scoff at as annual salary, but when you’re rolling the dice and training all year on a maybe, it can get rough,” Fraser said, remembering that he made nothing as a competitive weightlifter and even his thousand-dollar CrossFit contracts “plus free protein” were welcomed. “I remember that if I had a group project to work on after training, I’d get a pepperoni stick and a gallon of chocolate milk and then head to the library.”
It’s those moments that Fraser likes to remember, he says.
What’s Next After CrossFit
“The first thing I did was release my programming,” Fraser told Rogan when the elite podcaster asked the elite CrossFitter what he plans to do in his retirement. According to Fraser, he feels like aspects of his programming are unique, and so he’s kept those secrets close to the chest to stay competitive. “The day I retire, I’ll tell everybody.”
Apparently, Fraser is teaming up with Miami-based Hybrid Training to embed his training program — which he calls PSM — onto Hybrid’s existing platform. He says it will be made available to the public beginning in April. Fraser also said he plans to stay in the CrossFit space through a to-come sports nutrition company.
Beyond that, Fraser, a known coffee-lover, wants to somehow transition into the world of coffee.
Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs)
For a good chunk of the episode, Rogan and Fraser talked about performance-enhancing drugs in CrossFit and other sports, such as boxing and MMA. Fraser alluded to the fact that he’d never taken any PEDs and riffed on other competitors (who he didn’t name) and the funny excuses they gave to explain getting caught.
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Trying to Retire in 2019
Rogan then asked Fraser if he knew 2020 would be his last CrossFit Games, and Fraser revealed that he tried to retire in 2019. But then Fraser’s agent said he called him to say, “you’ll hate yourself when you’re 40 if you don’t go for one more,” alluding to the fact that stopping at four Games wins would only tie Rich Froning Jr.’s previous record. His manager was tipped off by his coach Shane Orr, the coach and husband to four-time Games winner Tia-Clair Toomey-Orr.
After spending about five minutes talking about hookworms and parasites, the conversation drifted to COVID-19. “That’s scary,” Fraser said in regards to parasites, “we’re over here worried about what? I didn’t even get a cough. I just lost my taste and smell. I worked out every day, and I just couldn’t taste anything. I took the precautions — I quarantined and kept to myself — but I was fine.”
Fraser reckons he contracted it when he went hunting with about 17 people, and “none of us cared.” Rogan, who said he was tested twice a day, also said that his entire family got it, and he didn’t.
Featured image: @mathewfras on Instagram