By Zach Arnold | October 22, 2006
By Zach Arnold
PRIDE US announcer Mauro Ranallo did interviews on both the Observer Live and Live Audio Wrestling radio shows on Sunday. According to this post, Ranallo indicated on the LAW interview that WWE is interested in getting involved in promoting MMA.
You can read my thoughts about this in full-post view.
Update: One quick thought… remember last week’s rumors that McMahon was interested in getting Ken Shamrock? Could Shamrock potentially be Vince’s “ace” for his MMA (or worked MMA) promotion if he starts it up?
Update II: Mike Sawyer at F4W Online reports the salaries for the PRIDE Las Vegas show:
Emelianenko Fedor ($100,000) def. Mark Coleman ($70,000)
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua ($25,000) def. Kevin Randleman ($40,000)
Josh Barnett ($60,000) def. Pawel Nastula ($20,000)
Butterbean ($30,000) def. Sean O’Haire ($15,000)
Dan Henderson ($50,000) def. Vitor Belfort ($30,000)
Phil Baroni ($15,000) def. Yosuke Nishijima ($15,000)
Kazuhiro Nakamura ($10,000) def. Travis Galbraith ($2,000)
Robbie Lawler ($10,000) def. Joey Villasenor ($3,000)
If my math is right, that adds up to a payroll of $495,000 USD. I think McMahon could pay that much for a fight card.
Thoughts: Considering that WWE has been internally watching UFC’s TV ratings very carefully, they view UFC as a threat to them. UFC targets the demographic WWE covets the most, which is men in the 18-34 year old demographic. UFC is hurting them there big time. If WWE does get involved in the MMA business, they will have a significant amount of resources to really challenge UFC.
The end result is that WWE is a far bigger threat to UFC than PRIDE is. From the perspective of the casual American fan who isn’t a hardcore fan and doesn’t follow MMA religiously, WWE is considered the gold standard for production values. Whatever advantage PRIDE may have in production value at events could be quickly negated by WWE. This leaves PRIDE having to compete on a fight quality level. They can certainly do that, but fight quality isn’t entirely what sells (see: UFC). It’s marketability. If WWE gets involved in the MMA business, this really hurts PRIDE in America more than it hurts UFC short-term.
PRIDE cannot compete with WWE in the American marketplace. However, the one advantage PRIDE has over WWE is that PRIDE is willing to make Las Vegas its homebase. Nevada is not a state that Vince McMahon runs many wrestling shows in (he did run a house show recently in Reno) because the Nevada State Athletic Commission holds onto the money from the gates of each show and releases the money at a later date. Therefore, Las Vegas is somewhat of a safehaven for PRIDE (at the moment). However, if UFC can manage to push PRIDE out of Las Vegas or diminish the amount of money they can make there, then the options start getting limited. WWE running MMA events is not what PRIDE needs right now in the American marketplace.