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Paul Heyman Working with Strikforce and EA Sports, Says He's Done with Pro Wrestling

Paul Heyman has now officially stated that he is done with pro wrestling, which we wrestling fans don't buy for a second, and will enter the world of MMA. EA Sports has hired him to produce a series of five promos, like the one above, in the lead up to the release of the game. Ariel Helwani has a fantastic article up on the story over at MMA Fighting and I would encourage heading over to read it. Here's an excerpt from the article where Heyman talks about how close he came to working with TNA:

"When I shook Vince McMahon's hand in that room in December 2006 and I walked out the door, I said to myself, 'That's it.' I put in my time. I had the most extraordinary experience that a human being can have. I lived out every possible dream I could possibly live out in that industry and now I want to pursue other things.

"It came real close with TNA. To me, it was more of a deal with Spike TV and then a stock and ownership deal involving TNA. I had a five-year plan. I was going to spend 18 months building the roster, the next 18 months exploiting that built roster, that's three years in, go public in three, stay for two more running it and get out at 50 [years old]. That was my plan. I had an exit plan. I had a five-year plan and I clued everyone into it. I told TNA what my plan was and I told Spike TV what my plan was and how we would capitilaze on it and how we would make this thing move and an acknowledgement that wrestling is a diminishing market and it's not perceived as cool and here's how you, if not change course, at least present it differently so that at least you have a chance in today's marketplace to at least compete.

"When that didn't happen, that was it. I didn't have any other interest in doing it. It was close. I would have done it for that particular deal and that's it. That time passed. Now I'm looking at taking my abilities elsewhere and the logical step for me is this entry point right now both into MMA and into also just the branding world."

If this truly does mark the end of Paul Heyman in pro wrestling, it's a sad day for all the internet marks who always tried to convince everyone that he was the guy who was going to save the wrestling business. Smarter fans knew better and so did TNA. I'm not saying he wouldn't have added something to the product but he always needed to be reigned in a bit with the ideas he was presenting. His plan sounds good and all but I get the impression there is more to it than that. Dixie Carter would never give up total control to a guy with what amounts to a decent track record at best. Even she isn't that stupid.

MMA has become the logical progression for not only fans but also working members of the pro wrestling industry. We'll see this kind of crossover more and more and that's a good thing. Paul Heyman can bring a lot to the table for a company like Strikeforce, who struggles mightly with issues like promoting their brand and producing a good TV show. I hope to see him have plenty of success and if that first video with Nick Diaz is any indication, he definitely will. Here is what he had to say about what he can bring over to MMA from pro wrestling:

"I'm not going to try to bring pro wrestling into MMA. What I learned in pro wrestling about promotion of a persona can come with me and how to present someone as a star can come with me. But it's certainly not going to be that Fabricio kidnaps Fedor's sister and the revenge happens in their rematch at the HP Pavilion. That's not what I'm bringing to MMA. I'm bringing with me the knowledge and the lessons that I learned and how to brand the fighters that are being presented and how to brand them as stars."

No doubt there will be many in the MMA media, and plenty of fans, who will oppose any sort of pro wrestling influence on their sport. Hopefully Heyman, through his body of work, will put those fears to rest. It's not about it being fake or scripted; it's about how to promote a fight and make people care about your product. If anybody can do that, it's Paul Heyman.