Dwayne Johnson was close to signing with PRIDE

American movie actor Dwayne Johnson, who is one of the most famous wrestlers in the history of professional wrestling, was seriously considering trying his hand at mixed martial arts under the banner of the iconic PRIDE organization 25 years ago.

“In 1997, when I was still training in Los Angeles, I crossed paths with MMA guys,” “The Rock” told Joe Rogan in an interview. “PRIDE had just opened up in Japan, and I saw all these fighters move to PRIDE. At the time, I was making $150,000 dollars by fighting 235 days a year. You can do the math on how much I was getting per show. I found out that guys in PRIDE were making $250,000, $350,000, $500,000, and I thought, ‘Damn, I’ll never make that much in WWE.’ Also, people were booing me outside the arena, and I couldn’t even be myself – I had to smile when I didn’t want to”

“I started discussing it with Ken Shamrock, who was wrestling with us, and Mark Kerr. I asked them to tell me a little more about PRIDE. I had this idea sitting in my head that I should do MMA, go to PRIDE, and make real money there. And I wouldn’t have to smile all the time. Maybe I’ll screw up and blow my lungs out, but maybe I’ll make it and I’ll get somewhere.”

In the same year Johnson abandoned his plans, as he was allowed to change his role, and from the eternally smiling character with a childish expression of the face to retrain as a villain, in the image of which he achieved world fame and became one of the most famous wrestlers in the history of the industry.

Nevertheless, “The Rock” remains a big fan of mixed martial arts, often attends UFC events, presented the BMF title to Jorge Masvidal, and not so long ago bought one of the aspiring fighters of the world’s strongest league a house.