Friend of our site


MMA Headlines


UFC HP


Bleacher Report


MMA Fighting


MMA Torch


MMA Weekly


Sherdog (News)


Sherdog (Articles)


Liver Kick


MMA Mania


Bloody Elbow


MMA Ratings


Rating Fights


Yahoo MMA Blog


Search this site



Latest Articles


News Corner


MMA Rising


Audio Corner


Oddscast


MMA Dude Bro


Sherdog Radio


Eddie Goldman


Liver Kick Radio


Video Corner


Fight Hub


Special thanks to...

Link Rolodex

Site Index


To access our list of posting topics and archives, click here.

Friend of our site


Buy and sell MMA photos at MMA Prints

Site feedback


Fox Sports: "Zach Arnold's Fight Opinion site is one of the best spots on the Web for thought-provoking MMA pieces."

« | Home | »

About that pro-wrestling crossover…

By Zach Arnold | January 17, 2008

Print Friendly and PDF

If you don’t think UFC takes pro-wrestling’s cross-over appeal seriously, well

TNA has made a business deal with UFC regarding promotion of UFC’s 2/2 PPV show, and in particular the Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir match.

Next week’s Impact will include a Brock Lesnar training package, as well as a Kurt Angle interview, where he breaks down the Lesnar vs. Mir match.

Topics: Media, MMA, Pro-Wrestling, TNA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 23 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

23 Responses to “About that pro-wrestling crossover…”

  1. Ivan Trembow says:

    This is not the first business deal that the UFC has reached with a pro wrestling company in regard to Lesnar. They also reached a deal to pay WWE for the right to use footage of Lesnar’s WWE matches in their promotion of Lesnar in the UFC.

    Ironic that WWE would be willing to do that, given that Lesnar wouldn’t even be able to fight in the UFC (or anywhere else) until June 30, 2010 if WWE had been able to enforce the ridiculous non-compete clause that was in the WWE contract that Lesnar signed.

    Instead, WWE was losing in court every step of the way and eventually had to reach an out-of-court settlement with their tail between their legs.

    (the settlement was completely one-sided in Lesnar’s favor)

  2. IceMuncher says:

    UFC 81 is probably going to be the worst PPV card the UFC makes in ’08… and it’s also going to smash records. Not fair.

  3. Ivan Trembow says:

    I don’t think UFC 81 is a bad card, and I’m looking forward to Nogueira vs. Sylvia a lot. Hopefully Tyson Griffin’s fight will also make it on the PPV broadcast as well.

  4. IceMuncher says:

    I didn’t say it was a bad card… just that it might be the worst PPV the UFC puts out this year.

    I think 80 is just slightly better. I like the Penn/Stevenson match-up more, and I think the Werdum/Gonzaga fight is more significant than a MMA newcomer and an ex-champ who’s looked like a shell of his former self. UFC 82 has a ridiculous ME, 84 has a couple of good rumored matches, and 83 looks like it’s getting moved to SpikeTV.

  5. Rohan says:

    To paraphrase Meltzer’s update – damn those promotors for booking fights people want to see!

    Also amused the anti-spam words on this blog are all wrestling terms….

  6. D.Capitated says:

    Oh god, you guys make me laugh.

    -I’m not at all surprised that the WWE is allowing the UFC to use footage. If Lesnar wins, its fodder for promos. If he loses, its fodder for promos. Either way its virtually free publicity. I am mildly surprised that the UFC went with wrestling footage though, but that’s probably because there’s nothing in terms of footage of the guy fighting or really training. The deal with TNA is also obvious: For christ’s sake, this show selling is dependant on wrestling fans buying the show.

    -The talk about UFC 81 doing monster buyrates is gonna lead to hilarity afterwards. You can save my statement now and read it back later: Silva/Henderson outdraws UFC 81. Heavily. Go ahead and laugh at me and talk about UWFi. This show won’t even approach 500,000 or come close to it. We’re about two weeks out and there’s still tickets available in all sections. I have a feeling no one will say anything 3-4 months down the road or will have reversed their claims about how the event would go in terms of interest. It wouldn’t be the first time.

    -Honestly, UFC 81 is almost guaranteed to be boring. Sylvia/Noguiera is gonna be another “shocking” loss for an ex-PRIDE star (seriously, how is Noguiera gonna win? Sylvia is a stylistic nightmare) that will bore and Marquhardt/Horn will probably be dull as dishwater unless Nathan shockingly dismantles him.

  7. cyphron says:

    I am of the opinion that the 200k WWE fans who buy their PPVs may just tune in to UFC 81 to see what this “ultimate fighting” is all about and become a convert. Wishful thinking? We’ll see.

  8. The Gaijin says:

    But D.Capitated:

    MMA and UFC don’t market to wrestling fans! Not now or ever and anyone who says so is an idiot…

  9. D.Capitated says:

    MMA and UFC don’t market to wrestling fans! Not now or ever and anyone who says so is an idiot…

    See, that’s what one would call “misinterpretation”, and it can be either done cognizantly or ignorantly. You can admit which end it is afterwards.

    The UFC in this case is clearly going after wrestling fans because they’re pushing a guy who is best known as a pro wrestler. Tito Ortiz/Chuck Liddell II was not pushed primarily at pro wrestling fans even though it used promotional tactics (borrowed by wrestling) that were invented by a boxing promoter nearly 100 years ago. There’s a difference. Of course, people who get hardons for comparing wrestling and MMA would never want to admit that.

  10. D.Capitated says:

    I am of the opinion that the 200k WWE fans who buy their PPVs may just tune in to UFC 81 to see what this “ultimate fighting” is all about and become a convert. Wishful thinking? We’ll see.

    I can’t see people who’ve had MMA on TV available to them on a weekly basis for nearing 3 years only start watching MMA when the show to do so costs $45 in low def and $55 in high def. Sorry, just can’t. They would have started buying after Tito/Shamrock III.

  11. cyphron says:

    I heard that UFC 83 onward, both high def and low def would cost $45, which to me makes much more sense.

    I think Brock Lesnar is a far bigger name than Ken Shamrock. I still believe that the WWE is a feeder organization for the UFC–not in terms of fighters, but audience.

  12. D.Capitated says:

    I heard that UFC 83 onward, both high def and low def would cost $45, which to me makes much more sense.

    The press release says 81.

    I think Brock Lesnar is a far bigger name than Ken Shamrock. I still believe that the WWE is a feeder organization for the UFC–not in terms of fighters, but audience.

    To me, this is the funniest part. Okay, so MMA supposedly built their fanbase (I know this is a strawman, but its a shockingly common viewpoint) on pro wrestling via TUF running after Raw. So, if UFC’s core audience of 300,000 or so that seems to buy anything are mainly pro wrestling converts, why do they need to spend the money they are on trying to coax pro wrestling fans to watch the show? Either they’re wasting money stupidly trying to attain a fanbase they’ve already picked up or they have reason to believe that the pro wrestling/MMA crossover isn’t quite what some make it out to be.

  13. cyphron says:

    I have never said that UFC’s core audience was mainly pro wrestling converts. However, it is hard to argue that there have not been converts from pro wrestling. I mean, look at Meltzer and Arnold. Most of the early MMA journalists are pro wrestling enthusiasts!

    The UFC did not sign Lesnbar because they want to coax pro wrestling fans over. They signed Lesnar because he’s a legitimate athlete. The fact that Lesnar may help them convert some wrestling fans over is a bonus.

    Fans do grow up. Pro Wrestling is kid entertainment and MMA and boxing are adult entertainment (IMO). There has to be a point in their life when kids realize that Britney Spears suck and Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

  14. The Gaijin says:

    “You can admit which end it is afterwards.”

    I was mainly just doing it to bust on you. But there’s certainly something to be said for having a former WWE champion in the main event, being marketed (partially) on the strength of his professional wrestling “credentials”.

  15. D.Capitated says:

    I have never said that UFC’s core audience was mainly pro wrestling converts. However, it is hard to argue that there have not been converts from pro wrestling. I mean, look at Meltzer and Arnold. Most of the early MMA journalists are pro wrestling enthusiasts!

    I stated in advance that it was a strawman.

    Meltzer covered MMA initally because of the connections with pro wrestling overseas. He wasn’t aware that Pancrase wasn’t entirely a work for quite awhile and even thought that Funaki’s loss on the debut show to Shamrock was to put over Ken rather than what it actually was (which was Shamrock legitimately winning the contest). He also showed serious doubt about the UFC’s legitimacy as well.

    The UFC did not sign Lesnbar because they want to coax pro wrestling fans over. They signed Lesnar because he’s a legitimate athlete. The fact that Lesnar may help them convert some wrestling fans over is a bonus.

    That Lesnar was signed because of his athleticism and background, this is indeed accurate. That he may help to convert wrestling fans is a hope, hardly an expectation. They’re looking at wrestling fans because they’re the most likely to recognize him. Honestly, if a large chunk of their fanbase are ex-pro wrestling fans, uhh, why would pro wrestling fans in 2008 be anymore likely to watch MMA versus those who saw TUF back in 2006 and were less removed from Lesnar the pro wrestler?

  16. Zack says:

    Hopefully they interview the Mulkeys to get their take on who’s going to win also. Maybe even the Shockmaster.

  17. cyphron says:

    Honestly, if a large chunk of their fanbase are ex-pro wrestling fans, uhh, why would pro wrestling fans in 2008 be anymore likely to watch MMA versus those who saw TUF back in 2006 and were less removed from Lesnar the pro wrestler?

    Perhaps because people’s taste changes as they grow older? It’s all conjecture, but you can’t deny a link between MMA and pro wrestling.

    We shall see how UFC 81 perform. I believe it will be better than average.

  18. Chuck says:

    I just want to see a super tag team of Brock Lesnar and Quintin Jackson in TNA because of this. Speaking of, who saw the Global Impact special with Kurt Angle vs. Yuji Nagata from Wrestle Kingdom II? Excellent match, fun show. And TNA is actually gonna release the show on DVD. But only the matches with TNA wrestlers in them (six total. But there were ten matches on the entire show). I like to see where this relationship truly goes. probably only TNA hyping UFC 81, and Maybe UFC promoting TNA Against All Odds maybe. Who knows? But I do want to see Shark Boy (with his Steve Austin impersonation in tact) against Sean “Muscle Shark” Sherk in UFC. Then a tag team in TNA.

  19. David says:

    thanks for pointing this out. i think its brilliant, but more importantly, necessary for crossover appeal and larger buyrates, so chill the ffff out!

  20. Dave2 says:

    There is a link between the UFC and pro wrestling fanbase. A lot of MMA fans (who may be former pro wrestling fans in denial) may like to believe that UFC fans are mainly former boxing fans (lol) but the demographic of pro wrestling fans and UFC fans have their overlap. Both demographics consist of young males whereas boxing has an older male demographic. Both demographics are into the nu-metallish music that UFC and WWF/E plays. It’s a very different generation from the average boxing fan.

    Also one of the biggest draws before TUF was Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz. Gee I wonder why that was the case… Hmm. Maybe it had to do with the fact that Ken Shamrock was a well-known WWF pro wrestler and their fued was very pro-wrestling like (yes fueds have their roots in boxing but they appealed to wrestling fans). Then when TUF was aired, it aired right after WWE RAW on Spike TV. If the MMA crowd doesn’t have a significant core of former/current pro wrestling fans , then where did they come from? Certainly not boxing.

    I was a pro wrestling fan and was introduced to the UFC 5-6 years ago by friends who were pro wrestling fans themselves. I also really got into MMA when reading Wrestler Observer (Meltzer covered UFC since the first one in 1993). Then through the Wrestling Observer, I heard about PRIDE. I was curious about PRIDE since Meltzer said that PRIDE was significantly bigger than the UFC and I tried the product and got hooked on that.

    From my experience with friends at least, I can say that a good chunk of MMA fans have a background as pro wrestling marks at an earlier age (or some may still be pro wrestling marks). In the US (not Japan) it’s taboo to admit that you are a pro wrestling fan so that’s why a lot of MMA fans don’t want to admit that they have a background as a fan in pro wrestling.

  21. Dave2 says:

    “Honestly, if a large chunk of their fanbase are ex-pro wrestling fans, uhh, why would pro wrestling fans in 2008 be anymore likely to watch MMA versus those who saw TUF back in 2006 and were less removed from Lesnar the pro wrestler?”

    That is a very good point. If anything, I think bringing in Brock Lesnar would appeal to the already-converted rather than new pro wrestling fans. I stopped watching pro wrestling (WWE, TNA and ROH) back in 2004. I think I saw one WWE PPV after that in 2005 (The ECW one). Brock stopped his WWE gig in 2004. So if anything, bringing in Brock Lesnar would appeal to my demographic more than pro wrestling fans in 2008. The pro wrestling fans of 2008 may not be very familiar with Brock. Hence why I agree with Zach that Dana White may be over-rating Brock Lesnar’s drawing power. Brock is a draw but he may not be as much of a draw as Dana White thinks he is.

    But for Dana White to say that he brought in Brock for his athleticism and amateur wrestling credentials only tells part of the story. Yes his athleticism and credentials are a part of it but it can’t be denied that his fame in the WWE played a big part in his push to the main event and the big purse he will likely get in the UFC. At best, without the WWE name value, an athletic former NCAA champion MAY be lucky to get on the unaired UFC preliminary card on UFN or PPV earning $3k to show, $3k to win. At best. It’s more likely that a fighter like that would debut on a smaller show.

  22. Zack says:

    I wonder what Abdullah the Butcher’s fight picks are for this weekend.

  23. liger05 says:

    Angle v Nagata was ok but I have seen far better Nagata matches in the last 12 months. Angle is overrated. His german suplex’s are a joke. Whenever I have seen him in Japan its reversal after reversal, sloppy german suplex’s, sloppy moonsaults and thats it. Boring!!

Comments

*
To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture.
Anti-spam image