Brock Lesnar will tangle with Australian bet Mark Hunt in a heavyweight collision at UFC 200, the Ultimate Fighting Championship event slated for July 9 at the T-Mobile Center in Las Vegas. The official announcement came out on Monday, June 6, amid social media rumor and speculation.
According to Forbes, American Brock Lesnar‘s comeback to the UFC will put him in front of “The Super Samoan” Mark Hunt in an epic clash at UFC 200. Details of the matchup were revealed during an interview with ESPN‘s Hannah Storm on Monday morning, drawing this confession out of “The Beast.”
“It was the hardest decision for me to make. That decision has haunted me for the last 15 months. I figured I couldn’t live like that for the rest of my life. I’m a big believer in living out your dreams and facing your fears.”
At the interview, longtime professional wrestling star and former UFC heavyweight champion Brock revealed that he continues to be under contract with the WWE, but was “granted a one-off opportunity” to compete at UFC 200. Lesnar is scheduled to appear in WWE’s SummerSlam on August 21.
Strong enough to lift 500-pound wrestler “Big Show” Paul Wight and toss him at a World Wrestling Entertainment bout, “The Beast” Brock Lesnar, 38, is seen as a good match for 42-year-old veteran Hunt whose punches are among the hardest in Mixed Martial Arts. Records show that no one takes clean shots from Hunt and remains standing.
Earlier, WWE United States champion Rusev volunteered to fight Brock at UFC 200, after reports of Lesnar taking part in the mixed martial arts event surfaced. Reacting to the news, 30-year-old Rusev, also known by his old ring name of Alexander Rusev, posted the following challenge to Brock on Twitter.
Prior to the official announcement of the Lesnar-Hunt matchup, UFC president Dana White dismissed what he then described as a misleading report based on UFC accidentally adding Brock to the company website as an active fighter instead of an alumnus. Saying the Lesnar comeback rumor began after the internet picked up on the error, White made the following clarification to Wrestle Zone.
“[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 from the information leak is the “banning for life” of reporter Ariel Helwani who wrote the unconfirmed story of WWE four-time heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar going UFC. White accused the reporter of being fed information by a “mole” from the inside.
Helwani revealed on Twitter that he was escorted out of the arena by Zuffa staff, after the bantamweight title bout between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber on Saturday night. Helwani described how his Brock Lesnar story had come back to bite him in the rear.
“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.”
According to MMA Fighting, Brock originally signed with the UFC in 2008 where a win over Randy Couture in Lesnar’s fourth pro MMA fight that same year made him the heavyweight champion. He defended his title against Frank Mir and Shane Carwin before falling to Cain Velasquez in 2010. Brock left MMA in 2011 after being defeated by Alistair Overeem. “The Beast” Lesnar was then having problems with the debilitating illness diverticulitis.
Touted as Brock’s possible nemesis, New Zealand mixed martial artist of Samoan descent Mark Hunt (now living in Sydney, Australia) is seen by sports aficionados as winning a stand-up battle against Lesnar. Hunt’s kickboxing background and power punches could give him an edge on the big American who has shown striking to be an area needing improvement throughout his eight-fight MMA career.
A UFC heavyweight champion in 2008 before his switch to WWE, “The Beast” Lesnar has bragging rights to being the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC history. In agreeing to the comeback match, Dana White could have factored in Brock Lesnar’s huge following that made him as big a 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.
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