Brock Lesnar is only one athlete who has worked closely enough with both UFC President Dana White and WWE chairman Vince McMahon to give an honest assessment of the two. On a recent episode of ESPN “Sportscenter”, the former UFC heavyweight champion and current WWE Superstar gave his thoughts on how McMahon and White are similar and different when it comes to the promotion.
Lesnar debuted on WWE television in 2002 and in just two short years became one of the company’s biggest stars. He left the organization in 2004 to pursue a career in the NFL. He was eventually cut from the Minnesota Vikings and would go on to wrestle in Japan before trying his hand at mixed martial arts.
After just one fight in Japan, Lesnar was signed to the UFC in 2008. He would compile a 5-3 in his MMA career and would win the UFC’s heavyweight championship in 2008 by defeating Randy Couture.
During an appearance on “Sportscenter” to promote the upcoming WWE pay-per-view “SummerSlam”, Lesnar was asked his thoughts on White and McMahon and what is like working with both men.
“The business model is the same,” Lesnar said of the UFC and WWE. “It’s identical, and I think Vince McMahon is better at it than Dana. And that might rub Dana the wrong way.”
Both the UFC and WWE are in the business of promoting and selling pay-per-views, though in the recent years the WWE has switched its focus to getting people to subscribe to their digital streaming channel the “WWE Network”. Lesnar has proved in the past that he can sell a fight or an event unlike any other athlete. His pay-per-view buys while in the UFC were some of the highest the company has ever seen.
While professional wrestling and combat sports are different, they are similar in the fact that the bottom line is selling an event so that people will want to tune in a more importantly pay a premium price to watch it.
“Vince is the pioneer of it. He’s been doing this his whole life. And he’s damn good at it. Dana, probably in his defense, is promoting fighting, but it’s the same thing. He’s trying to sell pay-per-views; he’s trying to sell money fights. It’s the same racket.”
Since’s Lesnar’s venture into mixed martial arts several of his fellow professional wrestling colleagues have followed suit including Bobby Lashley, Dave Bautista, Alberto Del Rio, and most recently CM Punk. UFC’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has even made an in-ring appearance at this year’s Wrestlemania. Yet with so much crossover appeal Dana White still has a sour spot for professional wrestling.
He recently made some snooty comments about professional wrestling during Twitter exchange with a fan. White called the entertainment “fake”. Lesnar addressed White’s comments during his interview.
“Of course, Dana, it’s fake,” stated Lesnar. “Everybody knows that. You are promoting the same thing we’re promoting: Dana White is promoting fights. We’re promoting fights. It just so happens that we get a little more longevity out of our fights and our fighters, because of the circumstances.”
WWE’s “SummerSlam” takes place on Sunday August 23 live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Leans will participate in a match against the Undertaker which is a rematch from their Wrestlemania match of a couple of years ago.