Brock Lesnar's UFC career: The highs, lows, records and controversies
Brock Lesnar is best known as a WWE Superstar but his relationship with Vince McMahon’s promotion hasn’t always been as great as it is now. We now know him a the guy who seems to get away with anything in WWE; specifically after the recent reports of his violations of American anti-doping policies, with the promotion even trying to cover up for the Superstar.
It is important to note he had gone as far as to sue the company back in 2004. Once Brock left WWE in 2004 for an eventually unsuccessful career in the National Football League in America, he joined NJPW in 2005 after the aforementioned lawsuit against WWE which led to the lifting of his Non-Compete clause with the brand.
Lesnar eventually left the Japanese promotion in 2007 for a career in Mixed Martial Arts with K1’s league called Hero’s in 2007 before joining the UFC in 2008.
Brock Lesnar joins UFC, wins his first title match
It was announced during UFC 77 that Brock Lesnar would be joining the league and UFC 81 saw his debut against former Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir. Lesnar showed promise in his first fight, taking down Mir early but was docked points for punching his opponent in the back of the head and after a second takedown from the former WWE superstar Frank Mir won the match with a forced submission at 1:30 of the first round.
Following his UFC 81 loss, Brock Lesnar proceeded to defeat Heath Herring at UFC 87 after Mark Coleman, who was previously set to fight Lesnar at the show, had to withdraw due to an injury. Lesnar’s big victory came in November of 2008, during UFC 91 where he defeated Randy Couture via a Technical Knockout.
Brock claimed the UFC Heavyweight Championship in the second round of the fight and this solidified his position as a legitimate MMA fighter. Prior to this, many UFC fans had been questioning the former WWE Superstar’s abilities since pro wrestling isn’t considered as a real sport while MMA is a ‘real’ sporting league.
UFC 98 had been scheduled to include a main event title fight between Interim Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir and Undisputed Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar but the match was postponed since Mir suffered a knee injury before the show.
The two ended up facing each other at UFC 100 in July of 2009 where Lesnar defeated Mir with a Technical Knockout in the second round, thus retaining the UFC Heavyweight Championship title.
There were many fans in the audience that night who were disgruntled with Lesnar’s victory and booed him while he was celebrating after the fight, to which Brock replied by flipping them off, causing controversy among the fans and critics present.
Lesnar even snapped at the show’s main sponsors, Bud Light accusing them of not paying him anything while promoting competitor beer makers Coors Light instead. This must have resulted in Lesnar catching heat behind the scenes from the pay-per-view’s management and sponsors since he publicly apologised for his remarks at the post-match press conference, holding up a bottle of Bud Light and endorsing the product.
Lesnar forced to take a leave from MMA due to health issues
Lesnar’s next big fight was slated to be with the winner of the Shane Carwin vs Cain Velasquez fight at UFC 104, but the contender fight was cancelled and it was announced that Brock Lesnar will be facing Shane Carwin in a title fight, defending his Heavyweight Championship belt at UFC 106 in November of 2009.
Shortly after the announcement, October of 2009 saw UFC president Dana White announce that Brock Lesnar was seriously ill for the past three weeks and that the Lesnar vs Carwin fight was rescheduled for January 2nd, 2010’s pay-per-view, UFC 108.
It was reported in November of 2009 that Brock Lesnar had contracted mononucleosis due to complications after suffering damage to his intestines which resulted in the weakening of his immune system.
The doctors came to the conclusion that Lesnar was suffering from diverticulitis leading to perforations in his intestine which leaked fecal matter into his abdomen causing abscesses which weakened his immune system. He underwent surgery to remove part of his intestines in November 16th and his surgeon reported that he had been ignoring the condition for almost a year.
Return to the octagon and title defence
Brock Lesnar returned to UFC in summer 2010 and announced after the UFC 111 Interim Heavyweight Championship fight between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin that the fight was good, but the winner, Shane Carwin was wearing a “make-believe” belt while Lesnar himself had the real belt on him.
Shortly after this, at UFC 116, Brock Lesnar fought the interim Champion Shane Carwin and after Carwin managed to cut the left part of Lesnar’s forehead open in the first round, the UFC Heavyweight Champion soon took Carwin down in the second round, attained a full mount, and after moving into a side-control, ended the match with an arm triangle choke, thereby retaining his belt and causing Carwin his first loss in UFC.
The night marked Lesnar achieving a tie for the most number of consecutive Heavyweight title defences.
His second break from UFC, medical issues resurface
Brock Lesnar was scheduled to face Junior dos Santos in June at UFC 131, but he was down with diverticulitis again in May which led to him undergoing surgery again later that month. UFC president Dana White addressed the issue at a press conference and confirmed that Brock had to have a 12-inch piece of his colon removed due to his condition.
2011 saw Brock Lesnar’s return to the octagon with a fight at UFC 141 in December against former Strikeforce Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem. Although Overeem won the match with a Technical Knockout in the first round, there was much controversy regarding the victory since Overeem tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone prior to his next fight, hinting at the use of performance-enhancing substances.
Also read: Brock Lesnar’s workout secrets revealed
Shortly after his third loss in UFC, Brock Lesnar announced that he would be retiring from his career in MMA to rejoin WWE as he was not feeling up to it mentally even though he felt that he was physically in great shape after his recovery from illness.
Return to UFC and controversy
UFC announced in June 2016 that Brock Lesnar was set to appear for UFC 200 in June and WWE confirmed that they had given him a one-off opportunity to fight in UFC before appearing in August’s SummerSlam pay-per-view against Randy Orton.
UFC 200 saw Mark Hunt get defeated by Brock Lesnar who was representing Canada for the first time in his career with a unanimous 29-27 decision. Lesnar was paid a record $2.5 million purse for the fight which was later broken by Conor McGregor at UFC 202.
Following his last UFC fight, Brock Lesnar was informed by the United States Anti-Doping Agency that they had found traces of a banned substance in an out-of-competition sample that was collected on June 28th.
It was later confirmed by the Nevada Athletic Commission that the substance in question was an estrogen blocker clomiphene and it was confirmed that the in-competition sample collected on July 9th had traces of the same substance which led to Brock Lesnar being temporarily suspended.
WWE, however, chose to ignore these allegations and Lesnar’s SummerSlam match with Randy Orton happened despite the violations. In all, Brock Lesnar has had a successful career in UFC, winning 6 out his 9 total fights and ESPN.com went as far as to name him as the “most accomplished athlete in pro wrestling history” in 2015.
It seems unlikely that Brock Lesnar will return to UFC in the future and he seems to have found his place at the top of the WWE roster being drafted in RAW after the recent brand split, but one can never say never when it comes to the beast incarnate!
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