Sports

Why Saturday night's self-inflicted blows wounded the UFC and boosted the WWE

Brock Lesnar, left, taunts Daniel Cormier after Cormier's heavyweight title mixed martial arts bout at against Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, Saturday, July 7, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Brock Lesnar, left, taunts Daniel Cormier after Cormier's heavyweight title mixed martial arts bout at against Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, Saturday, July 7, 2018, in Las Vegas. The Associated Press

I guess it's kind of ironic.

For one, I like the WWE while knowing it's scripted. Yet, I don't care much for the UFC although it's a real sport.

Secondly, when the WWE breaks script and has some real moments it's exciting. However, when the UFC breaks its real script and goes fake it loses its luster.

My, Vince McMahon, you are a genius. Dana White? I just hope this isn't what I think it was.

Let's look back to Saturday when a UFC card was scheduled and a WWE scene broke out. Yes, the UFC – on a night it had already looked watered down by canceled matches and a knockout that shortened the main event – went all WWE on us.

After Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 on Saturday night, he proceeded to call out Brock Lesnar, who just so happened to be in the audience. Lesnar entered the ring sporting the sadistic grin WWE fans know all too well and went up and pushed Cormier.

Oh, here we go. Is the UFC really cheapening itself to this?

So after Lesnar's push, the other guys in the ring pretend to separate him and Cormier. And what do you know? Lesnar obliges. Cormier then gets the mic in his face again and says "Push me now, you go to sleep later." Lesnar again flashes the same sadistic smile and receives a nudge from Cormier.

Lesnar gets the mic back and talks all kinds of trash about other fighters, throwing out cuss words, before aggressively pushing the mic into a TV camera lens.

Boy, does this act look familiar? Well, kind of, if you count the handful of times the WWE Universal Champion actually shows up on WWE Raw. Nonetheless, I suspect a whole lot of acting here.

Cormier then regains the mic and says "Brock, get out of my Octagon. I have pictures to take." White, the UFC president who led Lesnar to the ring, is then shown smiling ear to ear as he prepares to lead The Beast Incarnate back out of the Octagon. (Wait, does he think he's Paul Heyman or something?)

Man, did White look proud of himself. There wasn't much to smile about that night, but he was gleaming.

Unfortunately I think I know the answer to this question, but I'll ask anyway: Did the UFC just take a page out of the WWE's playbook and go rogue by not sticking to its true nature?

It sure appeared that way, and that's a bad sign for the sport. Like I said, I'm no UFC guy, but I've got to assume the guys who like the sport for its violent nature have got to be let down by what transpired. The sport doesn't need scripted theatrics; it does need scheduled matches to happen, though.

I just hope this wasn't a master plan by White to salvage what was a disaster of a night. If it was and the confrontation was as disingenuous as it looked, it was an even worse night than originally suspected.

The UFC can't afford to go down this road. The act is already out there. It's called the WWE. And while some stars – including Ronda Rousey, CM Punk and others – have crossed over in either direction, it's important for the UFC to not become like the WWE.

Like I said before, if a little real action slips into WWE, it gets interesting. If a little fake seeps into the UFC, it loses credibility.

For a long time Dana White has done an incredible job in marketing the UFC and making it popular. I just hope this is a one-time thing and it wasn't in fact planned.

After all, there is only one Vince McMahon. And anyone trying to duplicate his efforts has "no chance, no chance in hell."

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