Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar reportedly has not trained since his UFC 121 loss, and he could be eyeing a return to WWE and a Wrestlemania payday. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
1 Total Update since December 28, 2010
over 2 years ago Update 0 comments
Let me start by throwing this out there, expect Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir to be announced as the next coaches for The Ultimate Fighter at today's UFC 125 press conference. You can watch the press conference at Bloody Elbow at 4:00 p.m. My sources have been wrong before but I'm hearing it from multiple places.
Former long-time WWE commentary man Jim Ross recently chimed in on the situation with Brock Lesnar. Ross is of the opinion that Lesnar leaving MMA to go back to pro-wrestling does not make a lot of sense. From his blog post:
Lots of crazy rumors floating around the MMA message boards about Brock Lesnar these days. Some fans feel that Lesnar is looking to leave UFC and return to WWE. That decision would floor me. It doesn't seem to make sense at this time for Lesnar to leave UFC as there is too much Octagon money on the table for Brock to walk away at this time. I just can't see the athletic freak going back on the WWE road for any significant length of time especially with young children at home and Brock being most comfortable when he is in the Minnesota woods enjoying family life and hunting.
Don't get me wrong, as a fan I would embrace a Lesnar return to WWE and it 'might' happen on a sporadic basis some day but not any time soon.
I still think that UFC's best bout for Lesnar's 1st fight in 2011 with the best story behind it that could be easily enhanced/marketed with smart TV production is Brock vs. Frank Mir. I know that some MMA aficionados aren't of the same opinion. However, MMA fans would engage this well promoted 'rubber match' once the hype started that I can assure you.
I talked about the situation more at Bloody Elbow last night after spending the day asking around to get a sense of the situation:
From asking around I'm getting the feeling that Lesnar isn't interested in getting handed a fight where he might take a beating again (think Shane Carwin rematch) and is looking for fights that he is comfortable he will win (think Frank Mir rubber match). There's no shame in not wanting to go from Carwin to Cain Velasquez and back to Carwin. He's fought an incredibly tough schedule given his experience level and wanting a "bounce back fight" is not cowardly, it's a pretty smart business decision. And I say that as someone who was really upset with Brock earlier.
I'm a little disappointed that in my asking around I was kind of given the impression that Brock isn't really looking to "learn" from the Velasquez loss. Which may speak to some sort of personal realization that he isn't likely to ever be able to beat someone like Cain (which is true) and from here out it's an opportunity to maximize how much money he makes the rest of his career.
over 2 years ago Update 1 comment
UFC 121 was hard on Brock Lesnar. Cain Velasquez not only beat him, he embarrassed him. At one point Velasquez landed a punch and Lesnar tumbled backward through the cage. From there Cain landed shot after shot, opening a huge cut and forcing a stoppage. Lesnar looked like someone who had no business in the cage with a "new breed" heavyweight. And honestly, before Shane Carwin gassed it looked like Lesnar had no business in the cage with him either.
Now word is coming out via Dave Meltzer that Lesnar may be looking for a way out (subscription required):
According to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports/Wrestling Observer, Brock is currently looking for an "exit strategy" from the UFC.
Meltzer said on his radio show that the fight with Velasquez has changed Brock's attitude on fighting and he is at the stage in his life where he doesn't want to get injured. He's very well off financially and the business man in him apparently knows that it may be time to move on.
Meltzer also mentioned that Brock hasn't trained a single day since the Velasquez fight nor he has returned any phone calls to Dana or Zuffa about upcoming matches.
Dave pointed out if Brock was motivated, he would be right back in the gym training and bringing in new coaches with the goal of beating Cain yet he isn't doing that. He's hunting and hasn't even thought about his next fight. Lesnar apparently wants to do WrestleMania "badly" and will earn an estimated 2 million dollars for 30 minutes of work.
Everything is pointing towards Brock having one more fight and ending his contract. His head doesn't seem to be in the fighting game and it looks like it was just yet another successful business move.
Lesnar is absolutely a front runner. When the money is easy and he is the man he loves what he is doing. But as soon as things aren't going "right" for him he starts to look for a way out. Zach Arnold expands on that idea at Fight Opinion and does so very well. Look, Lesnar got beat up for the better part of his last two fights and looked terrified when he was getting hit. That's not something that is going to be fixed at his age. He maximized what he can do in the sport and it may be time for him to quit, it's not shocking.
The thing that Dana White and the UFC should do is go ahead and let him go back to WWE. There's no real worry of the horrible WWE product being confused with legitimate high level athletics. No one is going to think that there is some wrestling/MMA crossover if Lesnar goes back to the WWE.
And if he does leave, the UFC should bury him. Say that he quit on the sport because he didn't have the heart (it isn't a lie). Build up Cain Velasquez as the man who chased Brock from the sport of mixed martial arts. Just force him to sign a contract saying that if he returns to mixed martial arts in the next ten years it must be for the UFC (that way he can't run to Strikeforce) and let him go. And then bury him. It's probably better for long term business than dealing with trying to find a fight he can win that is still meaningful.
Meltzer is saying the following though:
"Brock Lesnar. Oh my God! I didn't say he was never going to fight again. I thought I made it pretty clear that I expected him to fight once next year or maybe even twice. It's amazing how things get blown out of proportion."
I have no doubts that Brock tries to finish out his contract to be free of all ties to the UFC, but I'll be shocked if he fights more than two more times in the UFC. If he did "have the fire" he'd be back in the gym working his ass off and begging for his next fight.
Lesnar's time as a top heavyweight is done. We should all accept it, move on and focus on an amazingly complete fighter like Cain Velasquez.