Brock Lesnar simultaneously stunned the WWE and UFC worlds Saturday when it was announced that he would be competing at UFC 200 in July. Thankfully for die hard wrestling fans, the WWE was quick to issue a statement assuring everyone that Lesnar’s UFC agreement was only for this one fight, and that he’d be back in the WWE in time for SummerSlam. In many online wrestling circles, it’s been rumored that Lesnar will occupy one of the main event slots for the WWE’s second biggest show of the year, but his opponent has remained a mystery.
Monday, however, fans discovered who Lesnar would face on July 9 at UFC 200, ending that particular mystery from the octagon. Lesnar appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter in an interview with Hannah Storm to announce that he’ll be squaring off with Mark Hunt in Las Vegas, as reported by Wrestling Inc. Ironically, Vegas will play host to WWE’s next pay-per-view, Money in the Bank. Brock is obviously not on that card, nor does it seem like he’ll appear at Battleground, the WWE pay-per-view that precedes SummerSlam.
The Money in the Bank card is shaping up quite fine without The Beast, however. Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins will headline the event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, John Cena and AJ Styles appear headed for a showdown, and, of course, the Money in the Bank ladder match features a star-studded lineup.
As for Lesnar’s return to the UFC, it comes against an opponent in Mark Hunt, who made his debut in the octagon in 2010 and has amassed a record of 7-4-1 at 42 years of age.
This entire monumental announcement signifies a new era in WWE, and not just in kayfabe terms. Vince McMahon and company have acquiesced by acknowledging Lesnar’s history in the octagon, and now by agreeing to allow him to compete in both rings — in the same summer no less. There’s clearly some degree of a business relationship in play here, where once none existed. WWE will certainly want to capitalize on the exposure Brock Lesnar will certainly receive from this fight, but they’ll be promoting the UFC in the process, something they’ve steered away from in the past.
What’s still unclear is whether this move is WWE’s way of thanking UFC for allowing Ronda Rousey to appear at WrestleMania 31 or if this opens up the door for Rousey to appear again or perhaps Conor McGregor to show up in a WWE ring. Either way, talent sharing would inevitably boost both companies’ bottom lines, especially if those talent are top draws like a Brock Lesnar.
As noted earlier Monday by the Inquisitr, Lesnar’s contract talks with Dana White and the UFC stem all the way back to April of this year. This means Lesnar went right to the bargaining table after his WrestleMania match with Dean Ambrose on April 3. While negotiations started that far back, a deal wasn’t reached until a couple of weeks ago. However, it seems Brock was preparing for the inevitability, as he began training immediately after his WWE match in Dallas. It’s quite a testament to those involved (Lesnar, UFC, and WWE) for keeping quiet for two whole months before the announcement was made official. In this day and age, it’s extremely difficult to keep a lid on something that has so many ramifications. Part of the deal may include UFC promoting SummerSlam during their major event, UFC 200.
An interesting twist to note is that before Lesnar sat down for his interview with Hannah Storm, the UFC pulled all mentions of Brock from their website and social media. The promo that aired over the weekend featuring Lesnar as a co-main-eventer for UFC 200 was also pulled, and it was not even searchable as of this writing. WWE, meanwhile, hasn’t done anything of the sort, so we’ll have to wait and see if there is anything to it.
[Image via WWE]