In a quiet weekend perhaps the most intriguing story was the news that Paul Heyman had been hired by Spike TV to handle the UFC 131 Countdown special, which broke after Shane Carwin tweeted about it on Saturday:
Paul Heymen @HeymanHustle is here handling the UFC Countdown shoot.
Like Brock Lesnars former manager Paul Heyman @HeymanHustle. Nice guy.
It will be interesting to see whether this was a one-off job or will lead to a more permanent relationship between Spike TV and Heyman. It seems that Heyman was brought in to work on the special because who better to direct Brock Lesnar for that show than his former WWE script writer and current autobiography ghost writer. When Lesnar had to pull out of his UFC 131 fight with Junior Dos Santos due to diverticulitis, Heyman was asked to direct his replacement Shane Carwin instead and obviously agreed to this creative opportunity. If he impressed on the shoot, then Heyman may be brought back to work on future Countdown specials by Spike TV's production company.
Heyman has been angling for a job in the MMA business for quite some time. Indeed, a few years back he was part of a consortium that was considering purchasing Strikeforce, but the deal fell through for some reason at the final hurdle. At UFC 111, Heyman's name was suggested as an interview coach for the company's fighters, but that idea wasn't taken on board. Though they certainly could do with someone to remind their fighters not to use homophobic or racist slurs on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, it is unlikely UFC would ever hire Heyman for such a role for fear of his carny past calling into question the legitimacy of UFC's promotional hype machine and even their fights. In an interview with Ariel Helwani, where he made it clear that he would like to work within the MMA business in some capacity, Heyman even spun a yarn about being the asshole who almost got the first season of The Ultimate Fighter nixed from following Monday Night Raw, imploring Vince McMahon to be afraid of anything that will take away from your pay-per-view dollar. Soon after, he was hired by EA Sports to produce a mixed bag of five promo videos for their MMA game featuring Nick Diaz, Frank Shamrock, Fabricio Werdum, Cung Le and Gilbert Milendez.
Of course, Heyman working with Spike TV would make him the favourite to takeover the creative reins at TNA, if the Carter family ever tires of the incompetent crew of Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, Hulk Hogan and Jeff Jarrett. Heyman was heavily courted last spring by TNA for a role in their ill conceived ECW invasion angle and a spot on their creative team. That didn't really interest Heyman, he wanted a similar position within TNA to the one Dana White has with UFC. In a strange sequence of events, TNA heavily teased that Paul Heyman was coming in for the Victory Road PPV even after Heyman did an interview with Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez where he explicitly said that a deal wouldn't be made for then, but two days later they shot the ECW invasion angle without him anyway. It turned out that for some strange reason Dixie Carter had decided to work the boys into believing that Paul Heyman was coming even though she knew that he wasn't and was subsequently upset when she heard some of the unflattering things Heyman had to say about her company to Meltzer and Alvarez. Ever since then TNA has lost all interest in Heyman. TNA still aren't ready for Paul Heyman to come in yet, but could Heyman working for Spike TV speed up the process? You never know in this business!
Update: According to Dave Meltzer in today's f4wonline.com news update, Paul Heyman was not hired by Spike TV, but the production company that makes the UFC Countdown specials, which puts a slightly different spin on things:
--A correction on the Paul Heyman doing interview coaching. It was the production company that made the call to use him. Spike TV had nothing to do with it.