The wonderfully outspoken Eric Bischoff has been at it again, this time opining the time that he neglected to buy Ultimate Fighting Championship when given the opportunity.
Speaking on his hugely successful 83 Weeks Podcast, the former General Manager of Monday Night Raw told the story of how he was offered the company in 1993 but scoffed at the chance thanks to not seeing it as competition to professional wrestling:
“Nobody looked at it as competition – it was a tough man contest. Not taking anything away from people involved in it, but it was being promoted as a tough man type. It wasn’t being promoted the way it was being promoted today. I don’t think anybody looked at it as a threat or competition. As a fan, I was curious about it but not concerned about it.”
Does Eric regret turning down the chance to own one of the most lucrative sports franchises in the world today? According to the man himself, with hindsight, things would have played out much differently.
“If we’d have known then what we know now, I’d own it. I was offered to buy it at one point for 2 million dollars and I didn’t bother to return the phone call.”
Founded in 1993, UFC was pitched as an eight man tournament and then purchased in 2001 for the princely sum Eric Bischoff was offered it for eight years earlier. Now, the promotion is worth over seven billion dollars.
Having missed the chance to bag himself the bargain of a lifetime, Bischoff went on to talk about how the current owners turned the business around and the money that would have been needed to sink into its success:
“The Fertitta’s, when they bought it, people didn’t realize how many 10s of millions of dollars the Fertitta’s lost before it turned around. There was probably over a hundred million dollars of red ink that flowed out of UFC before it finally turned the corner. It wouldn’t have turned the corner had it not been for [The Ultimate Fighter] on Spike. That was the golden ticket, the lottery ticket, that turned things around.”
To listen to the whole interview, you can subscribe to 83 Weeks now.
Credit for the interview: 83 Weeks Podcast
h/t for the transcription: Wrestling Inc.