After the initial shock of “Holy Schnikes! Brock Lesnar is going back to UFC!”, a lot of speculation focused on what WWE might get in return for allowing a man they have locked up in an exclusive contract to be featured on another company’s event.
In a long, wide-ranging interview with Business Insider, WWE’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon says they aren’t getting anything beyond the obvious awareness-raising... and WWE isn’t going to do much beyond allow Brock to participate, either.
She also uses the opportunity to again state her father, Vince McMahon’s position that UFC isnt competition because WWE is an entertainment company. But one of her examples, that losses they don’t control hurt the “competitive sports” company’s ability to make stars, could effect her company’s storylines - which I suppose just proves how unique a proposition Lesnar is.
Here’s her full quote:
Brock is a unique proposition, but just to get to the broader question: UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is competitive sport. It's very different. WWE is all about protagonists and antagonists where ultimately our conflicts are settled in the ring with action that is akin to Hollywood. It's incredible stunt-like action and the match itself tells a story, but our audience is engaged in the characters and their storyline. It has to be relatable to them so that they care to see the tragedy or triumph and we're at an advantage because we can script it.
UFC, they can make a big star but the second that person loses, they lose credibility, and how do you continue to make that star rise? So I think we have the best of both worlds and the opportunity to tell the stories in the way we want to tell them.
In Brock Lesnar's case it was really a special case that we are allowing him to do this fight [against Mark Hunt on July 9]. But like you said it's not really a cross-promotional opportunity, but we are allowing him to participate in that fight.
We are not supporting the fight necessarily but, again, it's not a competitor to us and the more that our superstars, that's how we refer to our talent, the more they do outside of WWE, the more awareness it generates and the broader the audience can be that is then brought back into our properties. So we recognize the value of that.
Of course, WWE is promoting UFC 200 every time they run a story on their website or host a Q & A with Paul Heyman. And should Lesnar win, you better believe they’ll use that in their storylines.
But Steph’s answer makes it seem like notions of a UFC fighter being “loaned” to WWE for SummerSlam or WrestleMania, or that Dana White would have Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan promote a wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) during one of their broadcasts, was never part of the deal.
Surprised? Do you buy her answer?