Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Time magazine's World's Top 100 Most Influential People (2016 and 2019), Ranker.com's world's second most influential person (2019, after Elon Musk), Forbes' most liked entertainer in the world, and the man whose movies have grossed $10 billion, Dwyane "The Rock" Johnson appeared recently on Ariel Helwani's MMA Show, and discussed the BMF belt fight at UFC 244 on 11/2.

“This whole thing, this idea about the BMF title and what it meant, I always felt like it was something that transcended sports, it transcended weight division because it had this incredible street credibility to it and for me just to be a part of it,” said The Rock, who wrapped the belt around his friend and fellow Miami native Jorge Masvidal, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “I’ll tell you what happened. When I was walking to the octagon backstage - and we had that really cool entrance which I was so appreciative of - but when I was walking backstage at The Garden, walking out to the octagon, I was so precisely in the moment and I had this rush of thought of how I’ve walked that backstage in those hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden so many times, held up over my head so many WWE heavyweight titles, had the honor of wrestling in front of that Madison Square Garden crowd, but that night was very unique and different.

"When I got to the octagon, I realized the same flushes of thought that I went through as a wrestler which was making sure that my timing was right in the ring, the cadence was right, making sure all the highlights and high spots of a match - especially we had to go 30 minutes, 40 minutes, sometimes an iron man match - all that was going through my head and what I realized is, I had such a profound - even greater - level of respect for the fighters who not only walk those hallowed halls of Madison Square Garden, the MMA fighters who walk that walk before every fight. I had the luxury of knowing what the outcome would be in pro wrestling - and it doesn’t take away from the physicality of it - but this idea that the fighters don’t have that luxury.

“Anyway, I had a real moment being so present in that and that night was a very special night for me, being able to present that title to whoever the winner was and to be part of promoting the fight.”

“I congratulated [Masvidal] of course and I talked to him about what this opportunity meant and how this BMF title that is somewhat polarizing in the sport of MMA - some guys were behind it and some guys weren’t - but again, this is this unique experience that kind of transcends weight divisions and the sport because it has such street cred. There’s incredible champions who are incredibly disciplined and skilled in multiple disciplines of MMA, and then there’s the BMFs. So I was very happy for Jorge...

“So I reminded him what an incredible opportunity this is and to take advantage of it and continue to work hard as of course he is going to do. And also, he’s got a sharp wit about him which makes him very likable. He loves to talk s***, as we all do down in Miami, but he also has a cool, sharp, smart wit about him and he’s got his head in the right place, and his head being in the right place is wanting to do everything he can to impact his own bottom line, impact the company’s bottom line, which will in turn generate more income for himself and the fighters. So he’s really making sure that his value is realized.”

Nate Diaz was not impressed by the fact that The Rock and Masvidal are East Coast in the East Coast vs. West Coast fight.

“F*** The Rock too," said Diaz post-fight. "That motherf***er over here playing me, smiling with Masvidal. The Rock’s cool. I like ballers. But he picked the wrong side so he can get his ass whipped too.” 

"The Rock" was cool with the comments.

“I wasn’t surprised at Nate’s comments because that’s the Nate that we all know and love,” he said. “He is as advertised. Nate, he gets it. He knows that me and Jorge we’re boys, we’re from Miami. We have a lot of deep connections down there. A lot of the fighters we know, a lot of the coaches and trainers that we know, a lot of the gyms that we’ve been to down there. So there’s a connection, so no I was totally fine with it.”

The Rock is next plans to produce and star in a biopic about MMA legend and lesson Mark Kerr.