It would seem that Shane McMahon came close to venturing in to the world of MMA and running his own promotion.
Shane McMahon had a long and storied career with WWE. This took place both in front of the camera and behind the scenes, with his father running the company throughout that time.
However, in an interview with AdFreeShows, former WWE writer and currently MLW owner Court Bauer has revealed that there were conversations which would have seen Shane McMahon running an MMA company, however there were hesitations due to not being able to determine the outcome like in wrestling.
I think he thought that was where the business was going. It shared some of the DNA that wrestling has. He was also looking for his castle in the kingdom. ‘Here’s something I can run and have that has a similar business in terms of production, licensing, infrastructure and spreading it into this category seems pretty easy to do.’
Vince’s apprehension was always that you couldn’t control the outcome. You invest in these fighters and he felt, ‘we have a model that really works, why take the risk in something that is unpredictable?’ There was hesitation because in the late 90s, there was problems with athletic commissions. Was there doubts about Shane overseeing the castle in the kingdom? I don’t know.
Bauer continued on, explaining how he was involved in some of the conversations around the purchase of PRIDE, however nothing ever came to fruition.
People suspected there could be something like that. It got serious enough that there were meetings, and I was privy to them. I loved PRIDE, I thought it was awesome. It was wrestling meets MMA and it was crazy. I didn’t know how you could replicate that because of the athletic commissions and other reasons, but I was fascinated to see what it could look like in some form. You have such charismatic fighters and unique guys from (Mirko) Cro Cop to Rampage (Quinton Jackson). It was fun. In the end, Vince flirted with it, but didn’t do it.
Shane McMahon briefly returned to WWE at the 2022 Royal Rumble, both participating in the signature match and acting as an agent, however left shortly after in acrimonious fashion.
With thanks to Fightful for the transcription.