Here’s the inteview I did with Ric Flair, hope you enjoy! -S
Have you done an interview for an HIV/AIDS magazine before?
I never have done one, ever.
Well, this is an honor to break you into the HIV market.
As somebody living with hemophilia I gotta know one thing: what was your bloodiest match?
I don?t know, Shawn. That would be very hard, to think back over the last 35 years to think of the bloodiest. I?ve had a lot of ?em.
In all your years of wrestling, have you ever been in the ring and worried about the amount of blood you were losing?
No, I have not. I don?t think like that when I?m in the ring.
That fascinates me, I remember so many times as a kid being worried about your health. You?re kind of like a superhero for people who don?t have a lot of clotting factor.
(Laughs.) I guess, I never thought of it like that. In terms of that, I?m not sure if that?s good or bad.
It?s a good thing! Trust me!
When I was growing up, you were the first anti-hero I gravitated towards: a bad guy that people loved. Did you have any anti-heroes as a kid?
I did not. The two athletes I really liked growing up were Wilt Chamberlain and Joe Namath.
At the beginning of your career you were in a plane crash. How did that near-death experience change your outlook on life?
I don?t know that it did. At the time I was worried as to whether or not I?d be able to wrestle again. It probably humbled me a little bit. At that point I was in the infancy of my career. I didn?t relive it or think about it much after the first year.
Did your family or friends express any concern about you getting re-injured?
Going back to the question of blood in pro wrestling- in the 1980?s there was widespread panic about how HIV was transmitted. People weren?t sure if you could get it from handshakes or sweating. Given that aura, how did the wrestling business address the issue of HIV in the 80?s?
I don?t know that we did. I don?t think we thought of it in terms of that. It was just something that was there. There were obviously concerns, but I don?t think anybody was preoccupied with that worry in wrestling.
Nobody ever discussed it in the dressing room, like ?What?s going on with this?? I know wrestlers, in terms of the lifestyle outside of the ring, there can be a lot partying and unsafe sex?
Shawn, you know what, I?m not comfortable with this interview right now. We?re going in the wrong direction, and I don?t want to discuss it anymore.
We?re going the wrong the way with the interview, I?m not comfortable with it.
OK, let?s change course a little bit. In terms of being out there in the public domain, you endorsed Mike Huckabee. Did the WWE have a problem with you endorsing a political candidate?
No, not at all. Never said a word to me about it.
Hypothetical question: Hell-in-Cell steel cage match, who would win between Mike Huckabee, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, with yourself and Chuck Norris being banned from ringside?
Absolutely Mike Huckabee. (Both laugh.)
You wouldn?t be the special guest referee by any chance would ya?
Hillary and McCain’s people didn’t read the fine print of the contract: Flair- sharing a diabolical laugh with “The Huck”- is reffing the match.
In wrestling, one of the things people like is that anything can happen. Wrestling referees are ribbed across the board for missing things. What do you think will come first: a cure for AIDS or a universal eye-care plan for pro wrestling officials?
I don?t know and once again I?m not really comfortable with this interview. I?m not going to make light of that at all.
Yes. I?m really uncomfortable with the whole interview to be honest with you.
I apologize. I just wanted to talk to you because you kind of one of my pop-culture idols. And in terms of...
I appreciate all of that. I just don?t like the way the interview is going. I really appreciate that you respect me and I certainly wish you very well in life. I just can?t be commenting on stuff like this.
OK, all the best to you.
And to you.
Thanks for taking the time, I?m sorry if you were uncomfortable about anything in this interview.
I just didn?t know we?d discuss anything personal or talk about wrestling in that light. They?re two different things: wrestling doesn?t have anything to do with HIV, it just doesn?t.
There are a lot of sports- hockey has blood, football has blood- just a lot of the sports. I just don?t want to connect wrestling in any way, shape or form. We?re very sympathetic, obviously, the world is as we are individually. HIV: we don?t talk about it in terms of wrestling.
In basketball they didn?t really address it until Magic Johnson came back in the 90?s. You?re one of the few guys who have been in the wrestling before HIV hit through today, when more is known about how it is transmitted. I didn?t mean to put you on the spot, and I wish you the very best.
Thank you Shawn, so much. Best of luck to you.