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

So, they kept thinking, 'Hey, we can do more shows.' I don't know if we're at that now. Now, it's a struggle. It's already happened. We can all say, 'shoulda, coulda, whatever.' But, it's here now. When they were out there and they didn't sell tickets in Denver for that show and when they came to San Jose and they didn't sell tickets. They're struggling.

A year ago, I remember I never worried about the ticket sales. Some cities were better than others... UFC guaranteed a million and a half dollar gate and that's great. I remember people would go, 'Oh, it didn't sell out.' It's like, the million and a half gate -- OK, it's a few thousand shy of a sell out. It's successful as hell.

Now, we're not doing a million and a half dollar gates. [Laughs.] You know what I mean? Now, it's a fight, it's going to be a struggle. I'm not saying they're going to lose mnoney. They got that built in cushion with that FOX deal, which is good and it's a lot of leverage. They can expand it in new markets.

The one thing about UFC is that it's difficult to sustain. Pro wrestling is easier to sustain because you get The Rock and he can come back and do some movies and at 40, he's bigger than ever. John Cena's charismatic, CM Punk can talk. He may not look the part but the guy can talk. Daniel Bryan is awesome and I can keep those guys on top as long as I want.

With UFC, Chael Sonnen is the perfect example. Chael Sonnen can talk but if he doesn't win his fights, he's not going to draw. To get that perfect guy in wrestling, you get The Rock -- he's a perfect guy. Great look, great this, great that. Steve Austin. Hulk Hogan. You know what I'm saying? They're icons that are there forever. In fighting, your shelf life is short and you don't have the guys with the perfect this and that because those guys don't exist.

Chael can talk as good as any wrestler, but he's never won a world championship. Georges St. Pierre? Georges is close. I'll say that, George is close. Brock was awesome, but Brock wasn't the best fighter either. You've got Cain [Velasquez] and Junior Dor Santos. They're great heavyweights but it's not like they're big draws on their own. The belt can draw, but they're not the draws on their own.

WrestlingINC: Yeah. I saw you report that UFC 141 [Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem] came back at something like 535,000 buys?

Meltzer: Yeah.

WrestlingINC: That surprised me. When I was thinking of the low point for what that event would do, I was thinking it would be like 750,000 at the lowest...

Meltzer: Again, there are so many factors. You don't know if people just lost interest in Brock or was it just a Friday night during the holidays. I thought Friday night would hurt, I was surprised when the first numbers came in and they were high. I thought Friday night would hurt more. Then, I go, 'Well, it's Brock and Overeem and it's a great match up with those two big guys. I can see why it would draw.' But in the end, it didn't draw as well as we thought.

WrestlingINC: You mentioned making stars and star-power. Dana White wears his heart on his sleeve. Do you think it was a mistake for him to bury Jon Jones [after the UFC 151 cancellation] like he did? Obviously, he's pissed and they lost tons of money, but burying the guy that's kind of their top star going forward as far as someone they can build the future on... Do you think that was a mistake or do you think people will forget about it? Or, like with pro wrestling turns, does it make him a bankable heel like Tito Ortiz?

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