​Paul Heyman On Vince’s Perspective On The Industry Changing, Lesnar/UFC, Reigns’ Suspension


During a recent interview with ESPN, Paul Heyman discussed Brock Lesnar’s return to UFC at UFC 200, Vince McMahon’s perspective on the industry changing and more. Here are some highlights:

On his reaction to Lesnar returning to the UFC for the bout: “It’s what Brock wants to do. Whatever sports entertainment is behind the scenes is irrelevant — you have to be able to deliver inside the ring. What propels Brock Lesnar to deliver like he does is the fact that he’s truly a competitor. Even though it’s sports entertainment, Brock is competing with everyone else that’s out there so that when the show is over people say, “Wow, did you see Brock Lesnar’s performance?” It’s the same thing. He’s a competitor and the moment he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts [in December 2011], I think he regretted the fact that he missed a chance to compete at perfect health. It’s the one decision in his life he ever was second-guessing and therefore, for his own mindset, I think this is the greatest thing that has ever happened to him because he gets to go back and do something at an age when so few do it. He truly needs in his heart of hearts to do it because competition is in his blood and he wasn’t ready to walk away from that yet.”

On if he’ll be at the cage with Lesnar at UFC 200: “What purpose would I be serving if I were to accompany Brock Lesnar to the Octagon? Will I tell him to throw more jabs? Will I tell him to go for the takedown now or switch to the jiu-jitsu concept? I find it funny that there is all this speculation. I wish I could find a purpose to serve to go out with Brock. It will be very funny for me to watch him walk down the aisle without me, but until I find a genuine purpose for me to accompany him I really don’t know in what capacity I could serve to help him win that fight.”

On Vince McMahon’s perspective on the industry changing: “I think Vince McMahon’s perspective changes several times per day and it has to if you want to survive in today’s constantly changing environment. I think the entire concept of the WWE Network is indication that Vince McMahon’s perspective is constantly changing because it has created a completely different business model for WWE itself. Does Brock walking between the two worlds serve as Vince McMahon’s acceptance to change? I think Vince has always been willing to change. His whole goal when he bought out his father was to completely change the perception and distribution and the marketing and the promotion of this industry. I can’t say that what Brock Lesnar is doing is indicative of anything regarding Vince McMahon because the only two people who know of Vince’s acceptance of Brock walking between the two worlds are Brock and Vince because those are the two that had the conversation about this.”

On whether the WWE will honor a medical suspension if one is issued after the UFC fight: “I have absolutely no knowledge of WWE’s position on such a circumstance, plus I would be speculating and it’s a hypothetical. On this one I have to take a respectful pass because it’s not something I have discussed. I don’t know if Brock has discussed it with WWE. I doubt that he has. That’s a question that is better answered by Vince McMahon himself.”

On the Brand Split: “SmackDown has to come across as a brand that is truly competing with Monday Night Raw. If the brand is not competitive with WWE in terms of talent, production, look, presentation — just in terms of the manner in which the announcers get to describe the product — it’s doomed. But I don’t see it going down that way. Vince McMahon is not known for doing things half-ass and I’m sure that the directive within WWE is that as of July 19 when this brand split happens there will be an equal and distinctive roster on each side and that they are going to compete. Vince, much like Brock Lesnar, thrives on competition. Just like he did in 2002, when there is no one out there competing with Vince McMahon, he will create his own competition.”

On Roman Reigns’ suspension: “I don’t know any better advice I can give someone than to say I make no excuses and I own this. That’s called accountability and it’s the same thing I teach my children. The man took accountability for his actions.”

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