Chael Sonnen claimed in a recent podcast that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon once tried to sabotage a UFC event by reaching out out to one of their announces and paying him to no-show the event.
“In 2005, the UFC had just broken through[…] Ultimate Fightercomes out, it’s a huge success, changes everything. At that time, it was on Spike TV on Monday nights right after Raw. Vince McMahon called Dana White, and the problem Vince had was they were advertising The Ultimate Fighter during Raw. So Vince is saying to Dana privately, ‘Why would anybody watch my scripted show when they can just wait till it’s over to watch your real show? Stop advertising to my audience.’ And Dana shot with him and goes, ‘Vince, I’m on Spike, you’re on Spike, that’s where it ends. Who Spike decides to run the advertising and piggyback off of, it’s got nothing to do with me.’ […] Dana’s kinda sitting there going ‘I’m the wrong guy to be calling.’”
“The night I was going to fight on my debut, the heavyweight championship was on the line. Andrei Arlovski was the face of the company at that time […] He’s selling all the tickets. He’s gonna get $18,000 to show and $18,000 to win […] to headline a card with the biggest prize in all of sport.
That week, Vince McMahon contacts [UFC announcer] Mike Goldberg. He tells Mike Goldberg, ‘I will give you $100,000 to no-call, no-show the UFC on Friday. Vince tells him, ‘This call never happened; I will wire you the money on your word.’ Goldberg calls Dana and says ‘Here’s what happened.’ So Dana not only gives Goldberg a brand new, half-a-million-dollar contract, but right then realized, ‘If he’s willing to pay $100,000 for my announcer, who is replaceable, and I’m only paying my main event $18,000 and $18,000, I got a problem. This is a level of business play that I am just not ready for.’”
“Not only did Goldberg stay and not only did the business change, The Ultimate Fighter was never on Mondays again. It moved to Wednesdays and has never gone back.”