MMA and pro wrestling have always been connected — in subtle and obvious ways.
The obvious? Go back to the 1980’s. The longest running active MMA organization is Shooto, founded in Japan by former pro wrestler Satoru Sayama in the mid 1980’s. The first amateur Shooto event was held in 1986, the first pro event in 1989 — long before the UFC was conceived in the US.
Later, the Pancrase promotion emerged in Japan, with none other than American pro wrestler Ken Shamrock among their first stars. Shamrock would later find success in the original UFC events and then back to Japan with PRIDE — before returning to pro wrestling in the US. He has since bounced back and forth, finally landing with Bellator this year where he is expected to headline a show against Kimbo Slice this May.
Josh Barnett took what you might call the opposite path — making a name as a fighter before beginning a pro wrestling career in Japan.
So, the two have been intertwined, right from the start — but never has an athlete emerged at the top of the food chain in both, at the same time.
In a promotional spot yesterday on WWE Raw, none other than Brock Lesnar, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion and former WWE Champion, was announced as, quite possibly, looking to change that.
Lesnar, whose contract with WWE is to expire soon, has been rumored to have interest in returning to MMA. Generally, the promotion hasn’t allowed its athletes to compete elsewhere.
And hey — it’s a fun thing to think about.
Here’s the video.