- Dwayne Johnson detailed how he was tempted to join PRIDE and embark on an MMA career
- The Rock admitted that he wasn’t satisfied with how much the WWE was paying him at the time
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson made a shocking revelation about how he almost left the WWE for a potential MMA career.
The Rock wanted to make “real money”
During a recent appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Rock took a trip down memory lane and divulged why he considered switching from being a pro wrestler to a mixed martial artist. According to Johnson, he was told that PRIDE was paying its fighters some “real money” at the time, while the WWE, on the other hand, was forcing him to portray an image in contrast with his true personality for $150,000 a year.
“’97, during that time. I was still going to LA and working out. We were crossing all the MMA guys. PRIDE just opened up in Japan. I started seeing all these MMA guys going over to PRIDE… And at that time, I was making $150,000 wrestling 235 days a year. Do the math on that and how much you’re making per match. We start hearing, ‘These guys in PRIDE are making $250,000, $350,000, $500,000.’ I thought then, ‘F**k, I don’t think I’m going to make it in WWE. People are booing me out of the arenas. I can’t be myself. They’re telling me to f**king smile, I don’t want to f**king smile. That’s not who I am,'” The Rock began.
“I start talking to Ken Shamrock at the time, who was wrestling with us. I ran into Mark Kerr and I start talking to him. ‘Tell me about PRIDE. I have this idea in my head, ‘Maybe I should train in MMA, go to PRIDE, and make real money and I don’t have to smile.’ I’m sure I’m gonna get f**ked up [laughs], knock one of my lungs loose, but maybe I can do something like that. Find the right coach and train, I have this whole thing in my head. I’m talking to my wife at the time, ‘I think this is the way to go. Cause those guys are playing real money and these [WWE] fans are booing me for $150 grand,'” he continued.
The Rock pretending he would have done MMA to impress Joe Rogan 😭 pic.twitter.com/uKh0kFrzqb
— ᴍᴍᴀ ᴍᴀʀᴄᴜs 🏝️ (@mmamarcuss) November 16, 2023
The Rock still found his way into MMA but not through competing
As most of us know, The Rock did not end up being an MMA fighter in PRIDE or any promotion. However, he became one of the most famous MMA fans in the world. Unsurprisingly, The Rock managed to forged a great connection with the UFC and some of its fighters.
In retrospect, The Rock simply wasn’t meant for MMA but he exceeded what most MMA fighters make as a WWE superstar and a Hollywood actor.