Though many would hate to admit it, the world of MMA is deeply intertwined with the world of professional wrestling. After all, 10 days ago a professional wrestler with no martial arts experience debuted in the UFC and was paid a tidy sum for doing so. Mauro Ranallo was a commentator for Pride FC, Strikeforce, and Elite XC before working for the WWE on their Smackdown show. And of course, Brock Lesnar has held championships in both the UFC and the WWE and may continue to bounce between the two should he get his USADA situation resolved.
Another man who has dabbled in both spheres is Bill Goldberg. Goldberg was a former NFL player who transitioned into professional wrestling where he accumulated multiple titles in both the WCW and WWE. After leaving professional wrestling, Goldberg worked as a color commentator for the World Fighting Alliance (WFA) before moving on to commentate for EliteXC and Strikeforce. With the multiple pro-wrestling related stories cropping up in MMA recently, Submission Radio spoke to Goldberg about the interplay between the two worlds.
"It's the same crowd. One grows up and feeds into the other. You can't tell me, and I said this before, that 75 percent of the guys wouldn't die to be professional wrestlers that are fighting, and vice versa. We have a lot respect for each other, a lot of us train in martial arts and a lot of them walk around and act like they're us. So the cross-promotion - Dana White is Vince McMahon in training. I've said that 20 years ago. I think it's business, I think it's smart business. Whether it's (Ronda Rousey) at Wrestlemania, whether Conor is working this thing."
UFC featherweight champion Conor McGregor might agree. Six weeks ago, when the promotion for UFC 202 began to really ramp up, McGregor once again showed his promotional chops by calling out the entirety of the WWE's professional wrestling roster. A lot of the professional wrestling people got upset (or at least acted like they did) and responded via social media. McGregor then doubled down on his comments causing Brock Lesnar to respond. Suddenly, everyone was talking about cross promotion and when McGregor would be making the jump to WWE, which Goldberg says is a great thing, so long as doesn't get "hokey."
"I can tell you one thing, I was around when Brock responded to Conor (laughs) and nothing that Brock does is a work. So the words that came out of his mouth, he fully believes and I do also. And I think that if it wasn't a work, then it's a sad situation when you have to talk crap about other organizations that you know your paths are never going to cross competitively. So at the end of the day, you're kind of like a keyboard warrior unless you want to step into the guy's gym or unless you want to do it on TV, you know, meet in the middle. I always thought that was kind of cheap, but hey, you know, he (McGregor) doesn't know what he's talking about if he actually thinks that. I think that the cross-promotion is brilliant, as long as it doesn't get hokey for the UFC and as long as WWE can capitalize on the realism of what the UFC brings. It sure enhances Brock's stock when he walks over to do sports entertainment, I mean, let's be honest."
The most recent crossing of the WWE-UFC streams was earlier this month when CM Punk fought Mickey Gall on the main card of UFC 203. Before the fight many people thought Punk starting his MMA career in the UFC was a farce and the actual fight did little to change that. Goldberg agrees that it wasn't a good idea from a sporting aspect but he mostly places the responsibility on UFC President Dana White instead of Punk.
"It's something that, you know, like Brock trying professional football. I don't liken it to him doing fighting because that's a logical transition, but for him to play football without any high-school or any collage experience and try to play in the NFL, that's like CM Punk trying to go into the UFC without any amateur fights. But Brock made a bigger splash I think than CM Punk did. But at the end of the day, man, I'm not gonna fault him for anything except for being not smart enough to understand the difference in quality as far as experience and as far as abilities concerned and let that override his desire to pursue a dream...
"Also, you gotta look at the aspect of what Dana White does as a promoter, what he's been preaching for years and then what he turns around does. I mean, it's more along the lines of a Scott Coker move. But at the end of the day, Scott Coker is pulling in good ratings with what he puts on. So it's a difference of philosophy, but it's a huge discrepancy in ability."
After the fight, White suggested that Punk "probably shouldn't have his next fight in the UFC" but that was before the PPV numbers came out showing a significant bump due to the inclusion of Punk. It's possible these numbers may force White to have a change of heart about bringing Punk back for another go around; after all, Kimbo Slice was given another shot despite being bounced from The Ultimate Fighter in the first round by Roy Nelson. Goldberg however, thinks that would be a bad idea.
"There's no question he should not fight in the UFC. That would be blasphemy. It would be a slap in the face to all the guys who work their asses off to make it to prelims on FOX, on undercards and on the main event card. At the end of the day, from a promoter's standpoint, from a competitor's standpoint, from his standpoint, there's no logic to him stepping in that Octagon again. If he still has the passion for it and wants to train and compete, then yeah, lower-level shows are where he needs to be."
You can listen to the rest of the interview below where he also talks about Brock's drug suspension and returning to MMA.
Witch hunt. Nate Diaz's drug test came back clean but USADA is still looking into his vape pen usage.
Strong arm tactics. Al Iaquinta is willing to walk away from MMA if his dispute with the UFC over his pay isn't resolved.
Ultimate developmental league. MMA promotions RFA and Legacy have merged into LFA.
Basically clean. Chael Sonnen says he will lose 100% of his purse and face a $500K fine if he fails a drug test in Bellator.
Soon, we won't be able to see him. The UFC is investigating Alex Nicholson after a May domestic violence arrest.
Love is love. Amanda Nunes, the UFC's first openly gay champion, won the Equality Visibility Award.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Know your role. Writing for Sherdog, Eric Stinton opines on Michael Johnson's call for a money fight.
Cyborg's last fight.
Jackson-Wink has a vlog.
Hendo talking his career.
Here was Sage over the weekend with The Voice and Miletich.
Chael on Beatdown.
This is idiotic.
Saturday's UFC headliner "Cyborg" Justino on scale at 163.8lbs as of 3 hours ago. Needs 141lbs by Friday morning. pic.twitter.com/hnwcr5UQ0j— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) September 19, 2016
And MMA's premiere troll perfectly explains why.
If cyborg fails to make the catch weight limit of 140 Pounds will they change the fight into a catch weight one.— superCalo (@superCalo) September 19, 2016
Hope this means I'll have a fight lined up soon.... @usantidoping #UFC206? @seanshelbypic.twitter.com/E45An3SsMH— Zachary Makovsky (@ZachFunSize) September 19, 2016
Cosy on top pic.twitter.com/B3VHO6mznu— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) September 19, 2016
Much respect Chris wade is a warrior https://t.co/RPgWe5PJu4— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 20, 2016
Another straw for the fighter union crowd.
@MMAFA @ALIAQUINTA @GeorgesStPierre all fighters should demand to renegotiate their contracts after reebok deal was forced on them.— Jon Fitch (@jonfitchdotnet) September 20, 2016
Please support. This is really wrong RT https://t.co/3b9AfPx85L— Cung Le (@CungLe185) September 20, 2016
We back on that @ufc roster!— Ben Saunders (@bensaundersMMA) September 20, 2016
Let tell games begin!!! :D#MMA #UFC #MixedMartialArts #Fighting #Boxing #Wrestling #JiuJitsu #Kickboxingpic.twitter.com/BNOCAX19io
Glad he's back on the horse so soon. Hope he trains how to circle away from the power hand.
Back to training. You train so hard for all that to be takin away... Lost nothing no excuses you can be happy and strong when your on top but the best moments is when you u hit rock bottom cheated-failed- no excuse I will get that fight back they can say what they want but my spirit Will never be broken I will be back I'll have to climb that ladder again and it's not over until I win!
That's a ferocious group.
Jack Marshman (20-5-0) vs. Andreas Michailidis (7-2-0); CWFC 79, October 15.
Chris Horodecki (21-6-1, 1 NC) vs. Derek Gauthier (7-6-0); TKO 36, November 4.
Demarte Pena (11-0-0) vs. Irshaad Sayed (11-2-0); EFC 55, November 11.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
1996: Mark Coleman won his second UFC tournament, UFC 11, this time by default as Scott Ferrozzo was unable to compete in the finals after beating Tank Abbot in the semifinals and all the alternates were also unavailable.
2014: Mark Hunt walk off KO'd Roy Nelson in the main event of UFC Fight Night 52.
Cyborg has to cut 20 pounds this week - for no reason. This is insanity and honestly, I hope she just stops at 145 and forces their hand. She's a star and a draw. Let her fight at her natural weight and stop this nonsense.
Oh, and Al Iaquinta getting banned from post-fight bonuses is exactly why the Fertittas sold. Eventually, there will be a reckoning for the UFC, and they got out while the getting was good.
Happy Tuesday everyone. See you tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.