Believe it or not, there are still some people out there who do not know the difference between MMA / mixed martial arts and WWE / world wrestling entertainment. With some even asking if the UFC is scripted like the WWE?
So there is a huge difference between the UFC and WWE. Both are sports with professional athletes who are the best at what they do. One sport, the UFC is a full-contact combat sport in which the outcome is unknown. WWE is scripted entertainment where the final outcome of each match is known in advance.
What people may be alluding to more so is, is the UFC fixed? Meaning, are some of the fighters perhaps taking a dive and losing a fight for money? Or perhaps does the UFC drive a narrative in their fights? Is this guy a good guy or a bad guy?
How tough is this girl, can she overcome this lady, who has been saying all kinds of crazy stuff about her before their fight. There is a whole lot of marketing and plotlines that go into the making exciting fights in the sport.
Both Have Plotlines, Kinda
But while much of the interaction between the fighters in the UFC is left for the individuals to create their own hook. In WWE, each and every detail of a fight is predetermined. Every encounter in front of the cameras or “backstage” is all carefully coordinated.
Unlikely run-ins in the hallway, bumping into your opponent in the mall. At each and every point along the way, there’s a camera crew and a meticulously scripted scenario taking place.
Not only that, but most of the corny one-liners that WWE wrestlers come out with are also scripted and rehearsed. It’s like watching a live sitcom with people getting hit over the head with fake metal chairs. And thrown on to collapsable tables designed to break a person’s fall.
That is not to take away from what some of the sportspeople in WWE can do. Some of them are elite level athletes and if they were not doing professional wrestling. There’s no doubting they could apply themselves to any number of other professional sports.
Brock Lesnar From WWE to UFC
A great example of this would be the one and only Brock Lesnar. The former Division 1 wrestling champion, turned defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Turned WWE superstar, then UFC heavyweight champion, then back again to the WWE.
It’s been quite a career for the ultra-athletic man mountain. Who after just three professional mixed martial arts fights competed for and won the UFC heavyweight title. Quite a feat for a man who had only been training in the sport for a few years.
But Lesnar is a monster of a man and his background in wrestling, coupled with his sheer size and athleticism. Meant he was able to go into the UFC and from the word go compete at the highest level.
And him already being a huge star meant he was fast-tracked to a title fight ahead of many other fighters who were far more deserving. But Brock knows the game and he plays it very well.
And while openly admitting WWE is indeed scripted. Brock is quick to draw similarities between the two forms of entertainment saying;
“It is a staged arena,” (referring to WWE) Lesnar continued. “Everybody knows that. Dana, probably in his defense, is promoting fighting, but it’s the same thing. He’s trying to sell pay-per-views. He’s trying to sell money fights. It’s the same racket.”Brock Lesnar – MMAWeekly Interview
He understands that real or fake, storylines sell fights and without them those involved would not be making anywhere near the same money.
Even the great Muhammad Ali eluded to this himself about how he watched wrestlers build a storyline around their fights. Getting the fans excited and willing to pay good money to see someone get a whooping! And it’s something he used throughout his career to draw in the masses.
Conor McGregor Selling Fights
And like Ali, another fighter rose from nowhere to become one of the biggest sports stars of our generation in one Conor McGregor. And McGregor too has openly admitted to watching how the great Ali would verbally and mentally work his opponent pre-fight.
Building the tension until the fans had been worked almost into a frenzy. Then cashing in by delivering the goods on the night, often telling fans in which round he would win the fight. Just like the great man himself.
This building of a narrative has been key to much of his success. Both in terms of fights won and money earned. Making him one of the highest paid athletes in the world today.
UFC vs WWE Similarities
But this is where the similarities with WWE come to an abrupt end. As in the sport of mixed martial arts, once the cage door closes. It’s a question of who is a better fighter on the night that will finish the bout victorious.
And while there have been instances of fixed fights, where certain fighters have taken a dive and lost the fight for a big payday. In the UFC to the best of my knowledge and that of the athletic commission, fights are not fixed and more definitely are not scripted.
Mixed martial arts is one of the toughest sports in the world. Where fighters get routinely badly injured. With broken bones in their hands, feet and face. It’s actually very common for a fighter to break some bones in their hands. And then be out of action for several months after the fight is over.
And with some of the very best combat sports athletes in the world who have dedicated themselves to their craft. With savage knockouts and crazy stoppages. The UFC in terms of the actual match itself is the polar opposite of WWE.
While WWE stars may get injured during their matches, it will always be by some choreographed move going wrong. Someone missing their cue or overdoing a punch or kick and causing their opponent an injury. With the idea being that both walk out of the ring pretty much unscathed to compete again as soon as possible.
UFC Is As Real As It Gets
But with the UFC, both fighters are trying their best to inflict enough damage on their opponent to win the fight. And sometimes it may be a gruelling battle where both get seriously injured. Or a quick fight where there may be a fast submission. But either way, neither fighter knows how their fight will play out on the night.
Mixed martial arts and the UFC is highly scrutinised and all involved realise what they are getting into when they sign on the dotted line. To compete for the world’s premier mixed martial arts promotion.
As fighting and not acting is what UFC fighters love to do. Take that realness away from them and watch the sport collapse into irrelevance. It’s night and day between the two and if anyone tells you any different. Send them to me for some clarification and reeducation.
So I hope that I have cleared up and doubt that the UFC may be scripted like the WWE. And while there are elements of plot lines with good guy versus bad guys. The UFC is very much an unscripted and extremely violent and aggressive combat sport.
Versus the WWE where a match between two wrestlers, is fully scripted and predetermined. Right down to the lines that the fighters speak when in front of the cameras.
And while some UFC fighters have learnt from the WWE when it comes to creating plotlines and selling their fights, that is very much where it ends. With both promotions selling a product that involves combat. One is very real, in fact, as real as it gets.
And while I don’t like to use the word fake. WWE wrestling is a highly scripted undertaking where all involved a fully aware of how the fight will play out. Who is the good guy and who is bad. Both highly entertaining forms of showmanship, but with very different often serious outcomes.