With UFC being dark the past couple of weeks, many MMA fans have turned their attention towards the pageantry of professional wrestling to get their combat fix – and there’s no bigger night in pro-wrestling than Wrestlemania.
Wrestlemania, which is going down on Sunday night, will feature former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in one of the key matches, as he challenges Bill Goldberg for WWE’s “Universal” Championship. Beside the MMA connection in the ring, Wrestlemania should have its fair share of fighters watching the event.
Daniel Cormier has already made it clear that his phone will be off on Sunday night as he travels to Buffalo in advance of his UFC light heavyweight title defense next weekend. Former UFC bantamweight turned pro-wrestler Shayna Baszler wished her Twitter followers a “Merry Wrestlemania Day” upon waking up.
On top of watching, Baszler and another former UFC fighter turned pro-wrestler, Matt Riddle, actually performed this weekend. Riddle won the World Wrestling Network title at an event on Saturday and also worked a match against UFC pioneer Dan Severn on Thursday night.
While nothing is confirmed, there is always the chance a UFC star or two could make an appearance on tonight’s show. Ronda Rousey was a surprise guest on the 2015 Wrestlemania and Conor McGregor has been linked to talks with WWE, but word is they were shockingly far apart on money. McGregor is a hot ticket that WWE would love to say they had on their show, and Rousey has been quiet lately and could use Wrestlemania as a way to transition back into the public eye.
One UFC performer who you can count on not appearing tonight?
Hiscoe’s Analysis: The links between MMA and pro wrestling are greater than many would like to admit and there is a very large crossover audience. While they are definitely competition for each other, UFC and WWE seem to have found a way to peacefully co-exist after having gone after each other with competing shows in the past. WWE famously tried to hire away Mike Goldberg in 2005 and have him no-show a UFC event going head to head with WWE’s return to USA Network, and UFC ran a Georges St. Pierre vs. Dan Hardy fight the day before WrestleMania in 2010 which put a significant dent in WWE’s pay-per-view numbers that weekend. Pro wrestling isn’t for everyone, but there should be no shame in enjoying it while also being an MMA fan.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS
–UFC announced they will be holding an event from Long Island, New York to air on Fox this coming July 22.
-Lyman Good has accepted a six-month USADA suspension after it was found he failed a test based on taking a “tainted vitamin,” his lawyers told MMA Fighting.
-Thiago Alves told MMA Fighting that he will be staying at welterweight and that the cut to 155 is “not worth it.” Alves fights Patrick Cote at 170 pounds next weekend at UFC 210 from Buffalo.
-Damir Hadzovic vs. Marcin Held has been announced for the UFC Fight Night Stockholm card on May 28.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: SATURDAY NEWS DIGEST 4/1: King Mo to face Ryan Bader next after big win over Rampage Jackson (w/Cole’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)