Hulk Hogan, undoubtedly one of the most recognizable figures in the world of professional wrestling, has left an indelible mark on the industry. However, his career has been marred by a troubled past and controversial actions, most notably concerning racist remarks that led to his downfall. Despite the scandal that tarnished his reputation, Hogan recently addressed his racist comments, claiming they were not a true reflection of his character.
In 2015, Hulk Hogan’s world was turned upside down when a tape surfaced, revealing him making racist remarks. The revelation caused a major scandal that severely damaged Hogan’s standing in the public eye, from which he has struggled to recover fully.
The tape in question was recorded by Hogan’s former friend Todd Clem, also known as Bubba the Love Sponge. In the recording, Hogan used racial slurs multiple times while discussing his daughter Brooke’s ex-boyfriend. The release of the tape triggered a series of events, including Hogan issuing an apology and subsequently filing a lawsuit against media outlet Gawker for sharing parts of his adult tape. As a result of the controversy, WWE made the decision to sever ties with Hogan in 2015, effectively erasing him from their history for several years.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Hogan was confronted with questions about his racist comments and how they would impact his legacy, and he said Mike Tyson reached out to him after his racist remarks leaked.
There was a temporary situation where I thought, okay, where is this going to end up at? Where is this going to wind down? Where is the legacy? At the end of the day, there had been so much goodwill, you know, with the Hulk Hogan brand and people knew me so well. I mean I’ve been around for forty years and people know me so well from Mike Tyson, Brutus Beefcake to Vince McMahon, Verne Gagne to Bret Hart, everybody knows me so well that they knew I would come back and I would become the person that I was. There was a temporary situation with the surgeries, some of the racial stuff that went down. That was a speed bump but that’s not who I was, and everybody knew that. So, it was a tough time but the main thing that really got me over the past ten years was the surgeries that was the thing that was in question when you come out of a back surgery and someone tells you you’re never going to walk again. That will really screw your head up. The rest of the stuff, I had a bunch of people on my side, I had a huge support system and people that knew me stuck with me and it’s just been amazing to see how the fans have stayed with me.
“Well, he’s got it figured out. A lot of people wrestle for 20 or 30 years, and they don’t ever figure it out. You know, they’re smart to the business, and they know, but they’re really never figured it out. He’s figured out as far as placement and timing goes and that slow, methodical cadence when you’re in the ring. I don’t know where you want to place him, you know, on Mount Rushmore’s fall as far as the main event wrestler goes. But at the end of the day, if I was in my prime and I walked in with him, I could draw some major money with him. Yeah, I could draw some serious money with them. If I was 40 years old, I could go back to Roman Reigns in my prime. I could draw some major money with him. That would be something.”
“I was talking to somebody and I equated it to NASCAR drivers. You need seat time. You need to spend time in that seat until you start winning championships. It’s almost like AEW is on track. They’re kind of like the little engine that could, and they’re on track. I just think they need more seat time. They need just to be around a little bit longer to be really really competitive where they can go head-to-head on Monday nights or something like that. They’re moving forward quite quickly. They’re doing a great job over there.”
“I record everything brother. I’m a wrestling fan, come on. I record everything. I’ll sit back, and I’ll watch fast-forward through stuff and watch the stuff I wanna watch or if a match is the sh*ts, I’ll blow right by it. They’ve got a lot of talent over there. A lot of good guys.”