On a recent edition of his “Strictly Business” podcast, Eric Bischoff discussed the UFC-WWE merger into the TKO Holdings Group, a possible crossover between athletes of the two brands, and more.
You can check out some highlights from the podcast below:
On potentially WWE and UFC packaging media rights fees together: “Every time this subject has come up over the last ten years, I’ve been consistent in saying that while there’s, I guess, some psychographic or — demographic and probably psychographic parallels between an MMA audience and a professional wrestling audience meaning that they like action, they like physicality, obviously the live event experience. But they’re not even apples and oranges, they’re apples and bricks. And some of that is the culture of the sport. You know, one of the things that I think UFC has done so amazingly well over the last 10 or 15 years, and it probably really started with the Gracies and really introducing and showcasing jiu jitsu as such a powerful dynamic or element within UFC. Along with that comes an education. You’re teaching people about the sport. They’re interested in the sport, they come, they want to watch guys beat the s**t out of each other. Kind of what started out as a no-holds-barred kind of an event.
“But it has evolved into a pretty sophisticated audience that knows their MMA. And I think to try to pull them out of that cultural mindset and plug them into fantasy sport, that’s where the resistance is going to be. You’re asking them to kind of give up what they find most appealing in many respects about UFC, because the audience has learned about MMA with the success of UFC. You know, people know now what a rear naked choke is. They know some of the moves and they appreciate MMA much different than they would have 15 years ago. Because UFC has educated them along the way. And I think that’s where you’re going to run into a cultural divide is, ‘Forget everything about this thing that we do over here that you can bet on and it’s an actual sport, and come on over here and enjoy this too.’”
On crossover between WWE and UFC fans: “It’s two different things, and I just don’t think it’s going to be as easy as people assume it would be because, ‘Hey, it’s a ring. It’s guys beating each other up in a way.’ It’s the pageantry. You know, Dana White may not like the over-the-top WWE-ish entrances. He certainly doesn’t mind the smacktalk.”