Hulk Hogan, the famous wrestler with the signature look and who inspired “Hulkamania,” has had his name associated with a multitude of products. But there was one product he passed on that would become a phenomenal success for another athlete.
Though the story has changed throughout the years, the end result was the same. One version, as told by Hogan, was that he took a call from his agent to sponsor either a meatball maker or a new indoor grill coming on the market. Hogan reportedly said, “That’s fantastic, I want the Hulkamania Meatball Maker!” Hogan then told his agent to give the grill to his other client, which was George Foreman, who agreed to the sponsorship.
Hogan’s other version was that he picked up his kids early from school, something he stated he didn’t often do, and that his agent had left him a voicemail while he was gone. His agent asked if Hogan wanted to sponsor a grill or a blender, and he or George Foreman could have it.
By the time Hogan returned the call, Foreman had already agreed to take the grill, and Hogan was left with the blender that he said, “when you put two double-AA batteries in it…it would turn off.”
You know the rest of the story. Since it was released in 1994, over 100 million George Foreman Grills (also known as “The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine”) have been sold, and George Foreman has earned an estimated $500 million off the grill. The meatball maker and the blender reportedly went to market, but both didn’t do that well.
The Hulkster summed it up best (if you believe the first version of the story) when he knew he made a bad choice by giving up the grill contract with, “How many people own a Hulkamania Meatball Maker?”