ATLANTA, GA - FEBRUARY 16: UFC President Dana White speaks during a press conference promoting UFC 145: Jones v Evans at Philips Arena on February 16, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter to promote the 1,000th episode of Monday Night Raw, WWE Chairman of the Board, Vince McMahon, was asked about the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and what, if any, competition they are to his company.
His answer was as blunt as it was unsurprising:
"We're in show business, they are a sport. Their ratings are abysmal. They are in the pay-per-view business, and they do reasonably well there. We just set a record for WrestleMania. We had 1.3 million buys for this year's WrestleMania, and our pay-per-view numbers for our shows have been up 30 percent since then. So, we are looking pretty good."
There isn't much to argue with here. The UFC, while successful on PPV (far more so than WWE), can't compare in television ratings. Even second run episodes of Friday Night Smackdown typically beat out UFC on FX specials. The difference, of course, is the type of advertisement the two programs attract but don't expect to hear McMahon go that far.
When asked by Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com, UFC President Dana White expressed bewilderment with McMahon going after the UFC but held back from returning fire:
"Vince keeps talking shit about us, I don't know why. I don't know why he's talking shit about us. I mean, there's a lot of things that I could say about the WWE but I would never. I don't know why he's trying to kick us in the balls. I like Vince, I have a good relationship with Vince, but I think it's in his nature. As a competitor and as a human being, it's the way Vince is built. Whatever."
McMahon and White have met on multiple occasions and by all accounts have a good relationship with one another. Still, it should come as no surprise that McMahon would be so forthcoming regarding the nature of the relationship between the two.
Which is to say, there isn't one.
White would go on to say he agrees with McMahon in the sense that the two businesses aren't direct competition to each other because they offer two entirely different products. I'm sure there are plenty who would disagree with such an assertion but the what's clear is they don't view each other as competition.
Or at least they don't say so publicly.