Earlier this week, former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar shocked the mixed martial arts world when it was announced that he was retiring from the sport, thus putting the kibosh on his rumored fight against current UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. As a result, subsequent reports hinted that plans for Cormier to face Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 in August in a rematch of their UFC 226 title fight were in the process of being finalized, as noted by MMA Junkie. However, the possible reasons behind Lesnar's retirement were unclear until this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter shed some light on the issue.
Citing Dave Meltzer's report in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Bloody Elbow wrote that money played a role in Lesnar's decision to walk away a second time from the world of mixed martial arts. As noted by Meltzer, Lesnar purportedly wanted to receive a flat fee for a potential bout against Cormier, which had been rumored since he stormed the octagon after Cormier's victory over Miocic at UFC 226 and confronted the newly-crowned heavyweight champion.
"Lesnar had a certain price he wanted that was worth it to him to go through a hard training camp at 42 and then get into the cage with an all-time great fighter and athlete in Cormier," Meltzer wrote.
Separately, Sportskeeda quoted Meltzer as saying that the UFC simply "did not meet" Lesnar's desired "price point" for the Cormier fight. The veteran combat sports journalist added that UFC's current deal with ESPN allows the promotion to guarantee payouts for its events, thus reducing its past reliance on buy rates and the presence of top performers to sell more pay-per-views.
"Lesnar, being a top draw every time he steps into the Octagon, wanted a higher flat fee to make up for potentially losing out on pay-per-view buys. White did not reach Lesnar's price, leading to the fight with Cormier falling through."As further explained by Meltzer, Lesnar also chose to retire from MMA because WWE is still allowing the former two-time Universal Champion to make good money through a limited number of appearances, thus making pro wrestling "far safer" and allowing Lesnar to enjoy a substantially longer career.
While Brock Lesnar has yet to appear on WWE television since he lost his Universal title to Seth Rollins last month at WrestleMania 35, "The Beast" is scheduled to make an appearance at the company's upcoming Saudi Arabia show in June. It's still unclear who he will be facing, but Lesnar will be booked alongside several other top WWE superstars, including Rollins, reigning WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, The Undertaker, and Goldberg, as reported on Wednesday by CBS Sports.