WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon stated that the WWE benefits more than the UFC in Brock Lesnar’s fight against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Rumors are swirling that the fight generates more awareness about the WWE more than the UFC.
The 39-year old one-time women’s champion title holder told Business Insider that Lesnar’s fight is not a cross-promotional of any sorts. She explained that the more WWE superstars do outside of their ring, the more curiosity and awareness it brings back to them which is good for their business. She noted that the UFC and WWE are not competitors since the UFC is more of a sport while the WWE is more into entertainment.
“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,” Stephanie said. “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.”
McMahon added that WWE is built in a Hollywood type of entertainment wherein they have protagonist and antagonists. She stated that it is the WWE that creates the storyline for the fans and viewers to get into personally. McMahon explains that the UFC is another thing because it is a competitive sport and once a fighter loses, he loses his credibility as well, unlike the WWE.
“UFC is not a competitor to the WWE because we are entertainment and UFC is a 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,” McMahon explains.
McMahon added that WWE superstars are bound by contract and must honor that contract with them. In the case of Lesnar, she explained that Lesnar was given a “one-off” opportunity to be able to fight Mark Hunt inside the Octagon. McMahon stressed that Lesnar is still under contract with the WWE and the company aims to keep him further, adding that they do not want him to suffer the consequence of UFC fighters losing their credibility once they lose a fight.
“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,” McMahon noted.
In his eight fights with the UFC, Lesnar has won five and lost three. He also named as the UFC’s undisputed heavyweight champion before his retirement from the sport in 2011 after being defeated by former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. However, the fight is still controversial as Overeem tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone prior to his next fight.
Once again Lesnar will enter the Octagon with the aim of beating heavyweight title contender Mark Hunt at UFC 200. There is no denying that Stephanie McMahon and the rest of WWE will watch the said fight and whether it benefits who at the end of the day it’s a match worth watching.
UFC 200 will be aired via pay-per-view and set on July 9 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Lesnar-Hunt match is part of the co-main event that will also feature Miesha Tate against Amanda Nunes while the main event of the night will be for the light heavyweight unification bout featuring Daniel Cormier against Jon Jones.
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