Remembering When WWE Tried Out MMA

No one has ever doubted the athletic prowess of WWE stars. The rigors of sports entertainment are clear for all to see, from the punishing training regimes to the meticulously choreographed matchups.

However, when it comes to real fighting, wrestlers are no match for those men and women who have helped build MMA into a world renowned sport. This was proven conclusively back in 1998, when WWE (WWF at the time) supremo Vince McMahon decided it was time to pit his stars against each other in true hand-to-hand combat; no holds barred, and no punches pulled.

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Here is what happened when the WWE tried and failed at becoming the UFC.

UFC Rumbles WWE Bigwigs

These days the letters UFC roll off the tongues of bettors and sports fans as easily as the NBA or NFL, but back in the early 1990s it was just getting started with hardly any media outlets or sportsbooks even acknowledging its existence.

Dana White initially kicked things off with a sole event in 1993, only for the cage fighting craze to start trending in a big way. This led to it becoming an organization that now spans the world, and UFC/MMA betting odds and tips columns are sought after both online and offline.

The organization’s inexorable rise made the likes of Vince McMahon nervous and gave the wrestling tycoon the (misguided) idea of experimenting in MMA.

Caption: Brawl for All abandoned what the WWE was all about, and the results were nothing short of catastrophic

Brawl For All Was Born

McMahon’s answer to White’s burgeoning business was Brawl For All. The concept was doomed to failure right from the off, as completely inexperienced wrestlers and MMA fighters squared off.

The rules were also confusing. Points were allocated to fighters according to who threw the most punches, managed the most takedowns, and scored a knockdown. The only other stipulation was that rounds lasted three minutes and that a brawl would come to close after a conclusive KO was scored.

The Result

In the end the bouts at Brawl For All resembled white collar boxing matches with occasional takedowns thrown in. It was also worrying to see the WWE referees – usually not called upon to do anything of note – being asked to look after the welfare of men taking genuine punishment.

Thankfully for all involved, the crowd booed most matches out of the ring and put an end to the ill-conceived idea, but not before some top wrestlers had suffered career damaging injuries.

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