Over the weekend, the UFC announced that WWE star and former UFC Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar would be fighting at UFC 200 next month. The media storm has started and what was already an interesting card now seems slightly more stacked. Lesnar made it clear in the past that he was devastated over his decision to retire from mixed martial arts and many fans have questioned whether things would have been different had he not suffered from that notorious case of diverticulitis that he claims effected his ability to train and fight.
Despite still being under contract, Lesnar has been allowed by WWE to train and fight for the UFC and has been added to the main card for next month's event. While it all looks like a recipe for an entertaining fight, and some extra publicity for both promotions, this decision doesn't really benefit anyone. That's right, WWE, UFC, Brock Lesnar, Mark Hunt and the sport will actually gain nothing from this fight, despite their intentions.
Here are a lucky thirteen reasons why Brock Lesnar's return to the octagon will be a complete failure for all those involved.
14 A Win Does Little, if Anything, for Mark Hunt's Ranking
Mark Hunt is a solid competitor and a legitimate knockout threat every time he steps into the cage. After an interim title fight loss to Fabricio Werdum around the end of 2014, he lost to current champ Stipe Miocic. After two convincing wins against Bigfoot Silva and Frank Mir, he's the number eight contender. At this point, his goal is to continue his rise through the rankings and get another title shot.
13 It's a Transparent Publicity Stunt
12 Secrecy is Already Causing Backlash Against the Brand
11 This Decision is Unlikely to Earn the UFC Many New Real Fans
When I say real fans, I should clarify: people who genuinely like the sport of mixed martial arts. Not people who like a lot of flashing lights, meaningless trash talk, and carefully orchestrated matches. Real fans watch in spite of the pageantry, not because of it.
10 This May (Should) Irritate Existing UFC Fans
This point, and the next one, goes hand in hand with our first point. Dedicated MMA fans generally want to see passionate fighters with love and respect for martial arts competing against each other in an honest, brutal war within the octagon. Instead, for this one fight, on the most important and hyped up card possibly in the history of the sport, they are being force-fed a match between a passionate and talented fighter and a guy who is there to make a scene, brought in to make some money.
9 It May Anger Other Fighters
Imagine an alternate scenario to your own current life. You're a young Heavyweight fighter, who recently signed to the UFC. You grew up watching Tank Abbott, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie, Frank Mir, Randy Couture, and so on; all the greats. You thought, as a young person, "wow, what a sport, I want to be like those guys one day" and put in (tens of?) thousands of hours at the gym over a decade and a half. Fast forward to a time when you're signed to the UFC, there's an opportunity to fight a top ten contender on the biggest card in the last while and the boss says "no, we'll give it to this guy who used to fight here, but left, because he makes us more money." Every Heavyweight in the UFC who wants to make a name for themselves has a right to be pissed off about this. It's already started...
7 Does WWE Really Stand to Gain Anything? (No, No They Don't)
Most of my points here have and will continue to discuss why this decision is a bad one for Brock Lesnar and a bad move for the UFC. But for one brief moment, we'll look at why this could be problematic for Vince McMahon and the WWE.
The general consensus is that Vince McMahon is doing this because letting Brock Lesnar fight in the UFC one last time will bring some more fans to his business. Others are saying that Lesnar is being coddled by the WWE and that McMahon is just letting him do what he wants because of his importance to the organization. Whether or not the second point is true is essentially irrelevant. The first point, however, is profoundly wrong. Nobody, whether a die-hard MMA fan or a casual observer, will be pushed to join the ranks of WWE fandom because they see Lesnar fight at UFC 200.
6 If Brock Wins He'll Want More Fights
In the next couple of points, I'll explain why this fight is unlikely to be a positive experience for Brock Lesnar, whether he wins or loses. Keep in mind for these points, that he has time left on his WWE contract and they are calling this a "one-off opportunity."
I'll repeat the title of this paragraph: if he wins the fight, he'll want more. I'm roughly indifferent to Brock Lesnar as a human being. He's a noted homophobe and pretty repulsive in any interview, but I respect the man's dedication and drive.
5 If Brock Loses...He'll Want More Fights
Obviously much of the same can be said of Lesnar if he gets knocked out, which, when Hunt is in the ring, is always a possibility. Like I said before, for all his flaws, Lesnar is an intense, highly motivated person. If his return to the octagon ends in a loss, he'll be easily as eager to continue to fight, get revenge on Mark Hunt, and go for the belt again. The guy thinks he is the best out there in everything he does and a man like that doesn't show up for one night, lose, and then call it a day.
4 He'll Underestimate Mark Hunt
3 Lesnar is Predicatable
2 He's Much Older Old Now
When Lesnar steps back into the octagon, it will have been four and a half years since his last UFC fight. In that fight, he demonstrated his amateur ability when paired against an elite striker by taking three straight kicks to the face from Alistair Overeem. Don't get me wrong, he's a got a solid chin to withstand that from the Reem, but three in a row, in less than thirty seconds? Come on.
1 He's Rusty and Has a Month to Train
This point ties in with my last fairly well. I'll make an admission: time to train is not the best argument to make given that Michael Bisping recently completed a huge upset over Luke Rockhold on just over two weeks of training. What separates Bisping and Lesnar with regard to this point; is that whether or not Bisping had a scheduled fight, he was training, practicing, trying to get better. Lesnar has been in pro wrestling mode for over four years. These are two fundamentally different situations. There is no disrespect intended to wrestlers and their fans, but training to fight in the octagon is not the same as training to perform in WWE.
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