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In between UFC 287 this past weekend and Wrestlemania 39 the weekend prior, there was one story that shook the combat sports world more than any other.
I’m talking, of course, about Mike Perry picking his nose and then wiping his finger on Luke Rockhold during the faceoff for their upcoming clash at BKFC 41.
I can’t even tell you how disgusting and out of line that was. I mean, Chael Sonnen was standing right there, which means his mom might have been watching. So classless. And Rockhold was wearing such a nice jacket too. If you haven’t seen the video to view it in all its splendor, imagine what it might look like if a snow leopard choked to death on a Persian rug.
Okay, maybe that wasn’t the only thing going on, as it was also announced that Endeavor, parent company of the UFC, made a blockbuster deal to acquire a controlling stake in World Wrestling Entertainment, the biggest professional wrestling company in the world.
And, not only is Endeavor purchasing WWE, they plan to merge the company with the UFC into a single publicly traded company that, out of the gate, would be the largest provider of live sports entertainment in the world. The value of the company will be over $21 billion.
That is insane. Must be why so many UFC fighters are looking at this news and are already taking a victory lap.
While the reactions from fans have ranged from “I’m not shelling out $80 for a WWE Payperview” to “This will probably kill boxing and/or all life as we know it” (and, of course, the memes), the reaction from UFC fighters has been mostly positive.
Maybe a little too positive, if you ask me.
Of the more notable reactions on Twitter were Conor McGregor threatening to break the jaw of Paul Heyman, Bo Nickal wanting to fight the entire roster, and Belal Muhammad wishing for a Money in the Bank briefcase, as it may very well be a more successful path to a championship than hoping Dana will “Remember the Name.”
One of the first questions asked about the deal, after obvious ones like “What?” and “Really?” and “For HOW much?”, was “Will crossovers happen?” and, while that question will linger in the air for quite a while, at least one of the parties involved is open to it.
Nick Khan, current CEO and soon to be President of WWE, has welcomed the possibility of UFC fighters appearing on his programming in the future.
Notice, though, how most of the reactions are one way. All of the UFC fighters want into the WWE but there’s been little to no public chatter coming the other way. There’s a good chance it’s due to the overall secretive nature of pro wrestling’s biggest promotion, where the company and its workers are very careful about what they share publicly.
It’s also likely because most wrestlers are smart enough to know they’d stand no chance in a real cage match and aren’t going to be in a rush to call out anyone who talks as if they aren’t in on the joke.
And yet, all of these MMA fighters think they can just waltz into a WWE ring and own it like they do the Octagon.
Well, let me be the one to tell those fighters, in the immortal words of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson:
“Know your role, and SHUT YOUR MOUTH!”
I mean, please. If you don’t mind.
A lot of MMA fighters have thought about what’s next after their fighting days are done. Many of them have considered professional wrestling as an option.
Georges St-Pierre would “love” to work with WWE. Jon Jones said his transition to WWE is “inevitable.” Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to “[S]mash John Cena’s face.”
I, for one, hope Khabib doesn’t do that. I need Peacemaker Season 2.
So many fighters talk about pro wrestling like it’s something they can easily do just because they know how to fight for real, that it would be like a vacation where you speak some scripted lines, perform some choreographed moves, and get paid a lot because you’re on TV every week.
The reality of it is nowhere near that simple. Yeah, there’s weekly TV but the WWE circus is a traveling one, with a travel schedule that has been described by multiple wrestlers as “grueling.” Imagine trying to train and stay in peak condition when you have to be on the road 4-5 days a week year in and year out.
Most wrestlers manage it but are constantly banged up because of it. For being a “fake” sport, WWE Superstars deal with injuries all the time and perform knowing that one wrong move could end someone’s night or even their career.
We’ve seen torn muscles. We’ve seen broken limbs. We’ve seen snapped necks. Hard to call it a walk in the park when a simple jump could result in tearing a quad muscle.
If you want to know how “easy” it is to train for pro wrestling, talk to fighters like Tyron Woodley or Daniel Cormier. They’ll tell you it’s anything but.
You’re not the next Brock Lesnar
So many fighters talk about wrestling like it’d be a breeze. Maybe they think they’ll have a run like Ronda Rousey, who used her reputation to get a championship run where the only moves she had to use were a judo throw, some (faked) mounted punches, and an armbar (making sure not to lock in it, lest she get buried for injuring a co-worker because of the instincts she spent years developing as a judoka).
Or look at the best example of a crossover star in North American wrestling, Brock Lesnar. He ran through everyone in WWE, became a champion in the UFC, then went back to WWE and started running through everyone all over again. He got to end The Undertaker’s undefeated Wrestlemania streak!
The man literally has a t-shirt that says “ARRIVE. SUPPLEX. LEAVE” on it. That seems to be how many UFC fighters expect their WWE runs to go.
But most fighters aren’t Brock Lesnar or Ronda Rousey. Those two are generational talents who had the right combination of looks, natural charisma, and successful fighting credentials to go to WWE and succeed at the highest level.
You think just anybody can walk into Vince’s office, say “Nice mustache,” and get a rocket straight to the top of the bill?
No, it doesn’t work that way.
If you think the politics are bad in the UFC, they are so much worse in the WWE…
To read the rest of this editorial about UFC stars’ chances of making it in the WWE, head on over to Substack. Substack is the home of Bloody Elbow’s premium content. If you want to support the new Bloody Elbow, the best way to do it is by picking up a paid subscription. For just $50 a year you get all our premium articles sent directly to your email inbox. Paid subscribers also have access to the full archive of our Substack releases, including exclusive pieces by Karim Zidan, Jonathan Snowden and John S. Nash.
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