The UFC is gearing up for their Calgary debut with UFC 149 and who better to welcome them than a local legend. WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret “Hitman” Hart is an MMA fan and took some time out to talk UFC and how its relationship with pro wrestling.
[adinserter block=”2″]I found it fascinating hearing Bret talk about MMA due to the legendary stories that have been told about his father Stu Hart. Stu was a shooter in his day and is infamous for stretching plenty of aspiring professional wrestlers in his basement. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Stu is a deep link between the pro wrestling and MMA worlds as a big part of his training was shooting.
Bret answers the question as to whether he would have gone into MMA if it was an option when he turned pro as a wrestler. Unlike The Rock who said yes in a previous interview, Bret said no. Bret rationalizes this by telling Ariel Helwani that he used pro wrestling as an escape from amateur wrestling. Bret says pro wrestling was his passion and doesn’t think the risks of danger in MMA would have been “worth it” for him.
Something Bret said back in 2007 which still gets him a bit of heat in the MMA world is when he compared MMA to “dog fighting.” Bret was asked about that comment. I think that Bret’s point was taken out of context and he clarifies it a bit here. Bret says that the comment was more out of concern for the fighter’s health than anything else. He thought that the was a lot of excessive punishment, specifically brain damage done in some of fights going back to the time in which he made the comment. He thinks the sport and fighters are a bit more professional and ethical today. His main concern when he made the comment was the safety of the fighters and he believes that those concerns have been addressed…thus he doesn’t compare it to dog fighting anymore.
Bret is also asked about the tired old debate of whether the UFC has surpassed the WWE in terms of being the number one attraction to males 18-34. Bret thinks they have no effect on each other and they are two completely different things. Bret likes that the current WWE scene with John Cena is much more family-oriented than it used to be, thus making it a completely different industry than the UFC.
I will say this. I find the comparison between the UFC and the WWE to be completely ridiculous, and I have written on this before. Helwani (who appears regularly on UFC programming) is practically edging Bret on to say “UFC is better than WWE!” Give it a rest. It is borderline obnoxious to hear him constantly leading Bret down that road, no matter how many times Bret politely tells him different. I don’t think you are seeing any of the kids wearing John Cena t-shirts at UFC 149 nor will you see any of the 24-year old tattooed males in Affliction t-shirts rooting for Santino Marella at SummerSlam.
Helwani at one point says that the WWE numbers are going down and the UFC is rising. As someone that probably gets paid for appearing on UFC programming, that kind of statement doesn’t surprise me. However, an objective reporter would note that the UFC is not rising at all. Their numbers are dipping greatly when you look at ratings and overall buyrates. As a matter of a fact, the WWE’s ratings are going up in recent weeks. This is just a terrible job of here of blatant shilling which is why I have really grown to dislike Helwani’s “reporting” over the last year. I was waiting him for to say, “Bret, just between you and me.”
[adinserter block=”1″]Bret also says that his biggest gripe with wrestling today is that the guys aren’t real enough. He feels that they need guys that are more technical like Daniel Bryan (who he calls Daniels) and guys that can “actually wrestle.” The good news Bret is that the WWE has plenty of those guys. The bad news is that they rarely let them go out there and do their thing. Just ask Jack Swagger how that is working out.
All in all this is a pretty interesting interview with one of the most candid professional wrestlers you’ll ever hear from. I’d certainly recommend checking out the entire interview whether you are a WWE fan or a UFC fan.
[amazon_link id=”B000AOEPU2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: Bret “Hitman” Hart – The Best There Is, The Best There Was, The Best There Ever Will Be[/amazon_link]
[amazon_link id=”B0089BSN3I” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE: SummerSlam 2012 DVD[/amazon_link]