Brock Lesnar hasn’t fought in UFC since 2011 when he lost in the first round to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 by way of knockout. That final loss to Overeem brought an abrupt end to his UFC fighting career after battling diverticulitis for over a year.
Lesnar made it clear in a past interview with MMAMania that diverticulitis almost cost him his career and his life. It is understandable why Lesnar would feel cheated by the illness that derailed his UFC run and would want another chance to do it right next time. Back in 2015, he almost returned to UFC for another run before ultimately deciding to resign with WWE shortly before Wrestlemania 31.
However, you should never say never in sports entertainment. A report from MMAFighting started the rumor that Brock Lesnar was negotiating and close to signing a deal with UFC for another fight. The deal with UFC would see Lesnar return to UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada, after a five-year absence.
However, it was revealed during UFC’s broadcast of UFC 199 that Brock Lesnar will be returning to UFC and face an opponent to be determined later. The only way this is possible is that Lesnar has a clause in his current deal with WWE that will allow him to accept a fight offer from UFC as long as he maintains his current contract with the company through 2018. The report from Wrestlezone has turned out to be true, and Lesnar will fight at UFC 200.
The card for UFC 200 is full already, but being such a big event, UFC is attempting to make it as big as possible. The biggest fight on the card is Daniel Cormier defending the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship against the former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon “Bones” Jones. The return of Brock Lesnar to UFC gives the card a tremendous boost of publicity and is giving WWE a lot of press too.
The biggest questions surrounding the news is the impact it will have between UFC and WWE. For the latter, this could be a huge blessing or it could be a huge mistake. Brock Lesnar is convincingly WWE’s most legitimate performer and one of the company’s biggest draws. UFC also never got 100 percent from Brock Lesnar.
Since returning to WWE programming, Lesnar has conquered The Undertaker’s Undefeated Streak at Wrestlemania, which many wrestling fans thought would never happen. He’s been the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and main-evented last year’s Wrestlemania against Roman Reigns. Brock could be risking a lot for WWE just to prove that he “still has it” to compete in UFC.
Now that Brock Lesnar has reached a deal with UFC and is fighting at UFC 200, the outcome is going to affect WWE far more than it does to Brock. If Lesnar is able to have a great fight or even win, that is a lot of press for WWE to have him on their programming because he proved he still has what it takes as a legitimate fighter. That’s a lot more money in Vince McMahon and WWE’s pocket.
However, that would show Brock that he can still compete in UFC. He’ll most likely want to negotiate more fights with UFC and potentially take dates away from WWE. At the very least, Lesnar won’t want to resign with WWE after his contract expires in 2018. If the fight at UFC 200 is just a one-off fight, it is a huge risk for WWE because it could take away all his legitimacy if he loses without much of a fight. Not to mention that Lesnar could get injured and potentially miss SummerSlam. A single win doesn’t do much for Brock Lesnar or WWE in the long-term either.
It’s been an amazing turn of events tonight, but Brock Lesnar’s return to UFC could mean great or terrible things for himself, UFC, and WWE. Brock Lesnar has been very open about the fact that he felt robbed by the illness that derailed his UFC career. Brock doing what he feels he must is understandable, but it’s going to impact sports entertainment in a big way no matter the result. It’s now on Brock Lesnar to be The Beast Incarnate, and the chips are now going to fall where they may.
[Photo By Eric Jamison/AP Images]