Dave Meltzer Discusses The Monday Night Wars, Three Hour RAWs, UFC's Rise, WCW Folding, More

But, even then, Dana talked a good game. I remember that whole period where they were losing money. I knew they were losing money but I didn't know it was as dire as it was until years later when they would tell the story of how dire it was. After they were successful and going, 'You know, we were $44 million in the whole and about to sell.' I knew they were losing money, I didn't know they lost that match.

I definitely didn't hear rumors that they were about to sell but Dana was always denying it. So, I figured -- why not? He talked a good game. Maybe that's not true. The Fertittas, being rich and everything, at no point did it look like there was no potential there. The 2002 fight with Shamrock and Tito, when it did 150,000 buys on pay-per-view with no television -- OK, this is the proof that you get the right fight with the right guys, you can do it. Imagine once you get TV, the whole thing is you get TV.

But they struggled to get TV. But, I knew that they were always in negotiations for TV and Dana and I were always talking about the Tuesday Night Fights idea and pitching it to Fox Sports and this guy and this guy. Somebody was going to get it, but nobody wanted it. But, I always thought that someone is going to get it on TV. When they do... Again, not explode like it did. But, again: could they do 100,000 for one pay-per-view 6-8 times a year and be a successful business with that if they got TV? Absolutely, 100%, I knew they could.

So, I thought that the Fertittas buying it would be the savior of the thing and it was going to make it. They ended up having a lot of financial troubles and it was harder than I thought. It was harder than they thought. But, then, once it got on TV, it exploded quicker than anyone thought, too. [Laughs.]

WrestlingINC: Yeah, absolutely. Whenever Vince McMahon talks about the UFC -- obviously he can't say it's a competitor -- but, it always seems like there's a little more to his comments. Do you think he has any resentment giving SpikeTV the green light to allow The Ultimate Fighter to go on after Raw?

Meltzer: I'd have to think that with hindsight, he'd have never done it. For a million reasons. Whatever they believe -- who knows because they'll never tell you for real. But, I can guarantee you that those people in that company are so sick of every time they go out and someone goes, 'You're losing market share to UFC. They're the new thing and you're the old thing.'

It just has to drive them crazy. Because they're not doing that bad financially. They have lost popularity and there are people that have moved over. They can deny it but that's just reality. Now, perhaps it's swinging back a little bit. Who knows?

Yeah, I think with hindsight... You've got to remember in that period, UFC was something that was dead and they didn't really understand what it was and that they could do story lines and things like that. I think they just thought it was a bunch of guys fighting. 'You can't control the outcome so, therefore, they're doomed.' That was Vince's mentality. If you can't manipulate who wins and loses, then you're doomed. What if you're main event only goes a minute? People are going to be upset.

And they still don't get that. I heard [Hunter and Nash] say it recently. 'What if the main event goes a minute? People don't get their money's worth.' I never hear UFC fans complaining about a main event that goes a minute. Ronda just had her fight that went 54 seconds. When it was over, did one person say, 'Oh, my God. We just got ripped off. The main event only went 54 seconds.' No! They just said, 'Wow, she won in 54 seconds.' She's a bigger star.

Make sure to check back later this week for the final part of our three-part interview with Dave Meltzer. You can follow him on Twitter (@davemeltzerWON), and check out The Wrestling Observer online at wrestlingobserver.com.

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