Stephanie McMahon Breaks Silence on Brock Lesnar UFC 200 Fight
Brock Lesnar is returning to the Octagon for UFC 200, despite being under contract to WWE. Naturally, WWE signed off on it, or it wouldn’t be happening. But it doesn’t necessarily mean everyone in the company is thrilled about having to make this compromise with Brock, whether they’ll say so or not.
Of course, Stephanie McMahon is amazing at finding the most diplomatic possible way to address every situation. I guess when you’re Chief Brand Officer, getting a handle on public relations is just part of the job, as we found out in this interview with Lara O’Reilly of Business Insider. In the interview, she gives her thoughts on the unique situation with Brock Lesnar, and the extent to which the UFC is or isn’t competition to WWE. It’s really interesting stuff. Check out an excerpt below:
O’Reilly: Brock Lesnar is a really interesting story right now. You’ve not necessarily ever done cross-brand promotions with the UFC before. Are you realizing there is a place for both UFC and WWE? Do they compete in any way? And also the fact that he’s flipped from one to the other and then back again.
McMahon: 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.
You can read the full interview at Business Insider. It’s definitely worth a read. Admitting that the company isn’t exactly supporting Brock’s decision to fight says a lot about what Brock means to their business. Granted, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Brock lost to Mark Hunt, since WWE could just continue building Brock as a monster until he got back whatever heat he lost in the octagon. But it would be a shame if WWE spent nearly three years making Brock appear unbeatable, only for him to lose to an outside guy before any of their own stars could get the rub off finally conquering The Beast Incarnate. I guess we’ll see how this all plays out when UFC 200 airs on July 9.
But what do you think about what Stephanie McMahon had to say? Sound off in the comments!