Dave Meltzer Discusses What Wrestling Can Learn From UFC, UFC 151 Cancellation, Much More

I recently spoke to Wrestling Observer Newsletter (wrestlingobserver.com) editor Dave Meltzer. In the final part of my three-part interview below, our conversation turned to the UFC, their rise, their recent struggles and more.

WrestlingINC: Do you think it would help guys like Vince [McMahon] and Triple H to see what the UFC is doing and pay closer attention to it? In regards to marketing fights and making finishes mean something, wins mean something and titles getting importance?

Meltzer: You can always learn from everything. They can learn from boxing, football. The more you know, the more you learn and you can figure out what applies to you.

I learned from watching football things that would work in wrestling and MMA. You can watch a freaking movie and come up with wrestling story lines out of movies. Not the way [Vince] Russo did, but you can. Or a soap opera. You can do it if you understand how to apply it and put it in the framework where it can make money. You can learn from anything in life.

Yes, you can learn a lot. Look; what they did that was successful in '06, the Shamrock-Tito feud, the Rashad Evans-Quinton Jackson feud? You don't think wrestling can't learn from that? Come on.

Can they learn what not to do? Joe Silva used to tell me, 'I learned what not to do by watching what WWF did to kill their business.' Yes! Dana [White] loves to say, 'I learned what not to do by watching boxing.'

You can learn from what UFC has done as far as bad, what not to do and what to do. Of course. There are people who have but no one has really been able to apply it. It's a weird thing because you have Eric [Bischoff] who just didn't completely get it at all. Vince who can't get it because he can't learn from anyone else. So, you actually had people in charge who couldn't learn from it so they didn't.

Nobody else had the power and the TV, no matter what. One of my friends is an independent booker and he learned from it. There are a lot of independent bookers who tried to learn from it. You can be the world's greatest booker on the independent scene and not turn business around. That doesn't mean that if you went to WWF with all that TV and you had those ideas that it wouldn't help. It probably would. That's one of the things that people don't get. If you don't have weekly TV with production and stars, it doens't matter what you do. You're not going to click with the public because the public's going to see it's second rate. They barely support first rate wrestling, they're not going to support second rate.

That's one of the things with TNA, also. If wrestling was super, super over like it was 11 years ago, TNA would actually be pretty popular right now. Just because wrestling would be over and they would be the alternative.

If you remember back in 1999-2000, if you look back in those days, there were indie shows that could draw several thousand people. You know what I'm saying? Wrestling was over. It wasn't just WWF that was over, pro wrestling that was over in that era and people jsut wanted to go see pro wrestling. now, pro wrestling's not over. WWE is sort of over, but it's the WWE brand. Pro wrestling's not over and because of that, everybody struggles.

WrestlingINC: With the UFC, you saw the big rise. They were using WWE's pay-per-view and a lot of their business model. It was shooting up to where it seemed like the sky was the limit. Now, the last couple of years, it seems like it's dropping a bit. I know you've written about this a lot. What do you think are the biggest factors as far as it's growth and what's slowing it down and causing it to decline?

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