The Cashbox: 1-On-1 With Bobby Lashley; Talks WWE vs UFC

Nick Paglino

Bobby LashleyHe has had successful runs in both worlds of professional wrestling and mixed martial arts.  He was a two-time World Champion in WWE and is currently 6-1 in his MMA career.  He continues to work in both industries as he just signed a multi-fight deal with "Shark Fights" and wrestles regularly in Japan.  He's also looking to expand his work as an active wrestler when he's not fighting.

His name is Bobby Lashley.  Those interested in booking him for wrestling shows and appearances can email lashleybookings@yahoo.com.

The comparisons between pro wrestling and MMA (mainly WWE and UFC) are limitless.  Some argue that each could learn a thing or two from the other while some say they have completely separate business models with no effect on one another.

Triple H recently made comments that drew scrutiny from fellow WWE superstar CM Punk, UFC President Dana White and some others.  While Punk's remarks are probably a genuine reflection of what he thinks about Hunter's comments, their on-camera feud could take a little away from the credibility of his argument.  However, I don't think Dana White is playing any "worked shoot" games and when he said that Hunter's comments were "ridiculous", I'm certain he meant it.

When asked about WWE and pro wrestling needing to evolve due to the growing popularity of the UFC and MMA, Triple H said, "I don't see us needing to evolve to what UFC does because quite frankly sometimes the fights are long and boring, guys lying around and sometimes the fights are fast and over in five seconds. I've always thought one of the things about us, if you look at us solely from a sports standpoint, is that we always give you a good show. We're never going to give you a crap game.  I think if anybody needs to evolve, it's them. Give more of an entertainment standpoint."

Personally, I've always agreed to a certain point with Triple H's sentiments regarding UFC.  Dana White "could" learn a few things from Vince McMahon.  The fact that a professional wrestling star – built by Vince McMahon and WWE – is your top UFC draw in every sense of the word, it stands to reason that "entertainment" is what MMA fans are looking for, regardless of whether they are casual fans or diehard MMA purists.  Brock's backstory made him compelling coming into the UFC and his star-like quality and attitude is what allows him continued success.

I asked Bobby Lashley to join me in this week's "Cashbox" feature to discuss Triple H and CM Punk's comments and debate this issue with me.  The audio of the interview should be posted here on WrestleZone.com within a couple of days.  In the meantime, here are the highlights:

Chris Cash: "First and foremost, I wanted to get your initial reaction to what Triple H said about WWE and pro wrestling needing to evolve, or "not" needing to evolve as much as UFC does."

Bobby Lashley: "Well, I can understand where he's coming from..because if you go to a wrestling show and the show is from 8 to 11, they can guarantee you that much time – that much entertainment.  But mixed martial arts is never going to change.  You can't guarantee anything with a fight.  I run a promotion here in Denver with amateur fights and we pray to have two hours or three hours worth of fights, but you just really can't guarantee it.

Another thing with it…it's like comparing apples to oranges.  Pro wrestling and MMA – I've heard it from both sides..trying to compare.  You really can't compare and a lot of people have asked me, 'Which one do you like better?'…I can't say which one's better because they're completely different entities."

Chris Cash: "But I guess I don't understand necessarily.  Outside of one sport being pre-determined and the other being real-life fighting, how is it that different?  The business models in that sense are the same – you have two guys that are supposed to be over with the crowd that people number one, want to see fight – same thing in professional wrestling.  You make money off of how many people you get there in attendance and then you make money off of pay-per-view sales.  I mean the business models are very comparable, in my opinion…"

Bobby Lashley: "I don't [think so] because..yes, they're both entertainment, but it's a completely different kind of entertainment.  That's like comparing a horror movie to a comedy movie.  You can say 'yeah, that's a good movie [and] that's a good movie', but they're completely different.  I think one thing Triple H said was cool and maybe it's the meaning he was going for…as far as entertainment..a lot of times in MMA, if you get somebody that comes out of the business that creates a big buzz…Brock's one when he first got into the UFC, Kimbo is another one…a lot of the hardcore MMA guys hate the fact there's somebody coming in there, but that doesn't make any sense.  Brock is doing a million pay per view buys plus, so if you're on Brock's card, there's more than a million people going to be watching you that day.  That's what MMA guys need to understand – you've got to allow these guys to come in."

Chris Cash: "Do you think that MMA fans – I know they're diehard, very loyal and avid fans, much like professional wrestling has – do you think that them getting up in arms over Brock Lesnar – they also preach 'the integrity' of the sport…do you think that they're over-reacting a little bit and that maybe there "is" room for that type of stuff in MMA?

Bobby Lashley: "You know what?  I hope they're over-reacting because if they're over-reacting, then Brock's been doing his job.  Because that's what you want to be if you're going to be one way or the other, you've got to be all the way.  There's a couple of other people that are like that.  [Josh] Koscheck – a lot of people hate Koscheck, but they'll tune in everytime to watch him.  They've just always equated Brock and the WWE which that's cool and everything.  Give WWE the credit because at least WWE knows how to put asses in the seats, like Vince would say…People are tuning in to watch because they want to see you fight."

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