Brock Lesnar has been challenged by Rusev to fight at UFC 200, the Ultimate Fighting Championship event slated for July 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. World Wrestling Entertainment four-time heavyweight champion Lesnar has been asking for a return bout at UFC, and current WWE United States champion Rusev has offered to come in as his opponent, but UFC president Dana White calls Lesnar’s comeback a rumor.
Brock Lesnar, 38, a UFC heavyweight champion in 2008 before his switch to WWE, carries the reputation of being the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC history. On his reported UFC 200 bout, WWE released a statement on Saturday night, June 4, to sort out a perceived conflict of his roles in both organizations.
“Brock Lesnar remains under contract to WWE, however, he has been granted a one-off opportunity to compete at UFC 200. Following this milestone event on July 9, Brock will return to WWE for Summerslam on Sunday, August 21, live on WWE Network.”
Reacting to the announcement, Rusev, 30, also known by his old ring name of Alexander Rusev, posted the following challenge to Brock Lesnar on Twitter.
I'll fight BROCK……. In a ring or octagon I don't care.
— Rusev MACHKA (@RusevBUL) June 5, 2016
According to Wrestle Zone, Dana White addressed what he called a misleading rumor based on UFC accidentally adding Brock Lesnar to the company website as an active fighter instead of an alumnus. Feeling the Brock Lesnar UFC 200 rumor began after the internet picked up on the error, White made the following clarification.
“[Brock Lesnar] is under contract with the WWE…for some reason there was a story connected to UFC 200 about Brock because he was in UFC 100 and that thing popped up…Lesnar had a great run here, he retired, I think at the right time, and he had a good run. Now he’s with the WWE and when he signed that deal with WWE I felt that was the right thing to do.”
According to Low Kick MMA, a fallout to the rumor is the “banning for life” of reporter Ariel Helwani for leaking the story of the unconfirmed event involving Brock Lesnar. The reporter said White accused him of having a “mole” on the inside who was feeding him information.
Helwani related on Twitter that he was escorted out of the arena by Zuffa staff after the bantamweight title bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber. He described how his Brock Lesnar story had come back to haunt him that Saturday night.
“I was brought to the back by UFC [public relations] and told by Dana White that I had to leave the arena. Dana mentioned that from what I recalled that Brock Lesnar was upset the news was released early and that this could have ruined their deal.”
MMA Fighting has Brock Lesnar on record as a decorated amateur wrestler before moving on to a career in pre-determined pro wrestling. The former National Collegiate Athletic Association champion at the University of Minnesota was a proven star in WWE in the early 2000s before leaving due to the stringent regimen. He pursued football before going with MMA.
He originally signed with the UFC in 2008, where a win over Randy Couture in just his fourth pro MMA fight that same year made him the heavyweight champion. Brock Lesner, also called “The Beast,” defended his title against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin before falling to Cain Velasquez in 2010. Lesnar left MMA in 2011 after being defeated by Alistair Overeem. Lesnar was also having problems with the debilitating illness diverticulitis.
According to Forbes, another switchling like Brock Lesnar, former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, was given prominence as a guest star on WWE RAW in 2010. Despite his impeccable MMA credentials, the letters “UFC” were not mentioned once during the entire broadcast.
In contrast, Brock Lesnar’s WWE return in 2012, was accompanied by fanfare befitting a former UFC Heavyweight champion, a perennial talking point for RAW color commentator JBL as well as Lesnar supporter Paul Heyman.
Dana White is well aware of Brock Lesnar’s huge following that helped the ex-UFC heavyweight champion become a big draw for the WWE as he was when he pulled in a record-breaking 1.6 million buys as a main eventer of UFC 100.
[Photo by JP Yim/Getty Images]