Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s MMA Ambitions: Separating Fact from Fiction
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, the renowned actor and former professional wrestler, has recently stirred the MMA community with his claims of nearly joining the Pride Fighting Championships in the late ’90s. His candid revelations on ‘The Joe Rogan Podcast’ have led fight fans to dissect his story, exploring the feasibility of his foray into MMA.
Johnson’s Encounter with MMA and Pride FC
Wrestling Stardom vs. MMA Prospects
In the podcast, Johnson recounted his early days in Los Angeles, witnessing the rise of Pride FC in Japan. At a time when he was earning $150,000 a year wrestling, the lucrative payouts in Pride FC caught his attention.
Johnson’s dissatisfaction with the WWE, where he felt restricted and unable to express his true persona, played a pivotal role in his consideration of a shift to MMA. His interactions with MMA pioneers Ken Shamrock and Mark Kerr further fueled his interest.
The first Pride was in October, 1997.
Fedor had his first Pride fight in 2002.
Ken Shamrock , mentioned here, had his first Pride fight in 2000.
In summation, LOL at all of this. https://t.co/miw9zilYFE
— TheRealSnowden (@JESnowden) November 16, 2023
The Timeline Debate: Fact-Checking Johnson’s Story
Dissecting Dates and Debut Fights
Johnson’s timeline has raised eyebrows among MMA aficionados. Pride FC’s inaugural event was in October 1997, and for Johnson to have considered joining within that year, he would have needed to be well-informed about the organization from its inception. Mark Kerr debuted in Pride in 1998, and Ken Shamrock made his entrance in 2000, casting doubts on the accuracy of Johnson’s recollections.
The Rock’s Continued MMA Connection
He’s turning into Hogan with these stories. Ya, you were just gonna train for a bit and then take on: Frye, Severn, Gracie(s), Goodridge, Taktarov, Kerr, Kimo, etc. And in 1997 they had their first event and by the end of 1998 they’d only done 3 more shows. 🙄
— Meltzer Said What? (@MeltzerSaidWhat) November 15, 2023
From Potential Fighter to Influential Supporter
Despite the skepticism surrounding his claims, Johnson’s connection to the MMA world is undeniable. In 2007, he reportedly considered joining UFC, citing Greg Jackson as his desired coach. Jackson’s rise to prominence in the MMA coaching realm around that time implies that Johnson had a keen insight into the sport.
Johnson’s current involvement in UFC through his ‘Project Rock’ brand, serving as the official footwear sponsor, demonstrates his continued interest and investment in the sport.
The Rock’s MMA Legacy
Dwayne Johnson’s stories, whether embellished or not, highlight a fascinating ‘what if’ scenario in the world of MMA. His admiration for the sport and the fighters within it, coupled with his significant contributions to UFC as a sponsor, paint a picture of a man genuinely passionate about MMA. While we may never know the full truth behind his claims, Johnson’s influence and presence in the MMA world are unquestionable.