Does the UFC really need Brock Lesnar?
Brock Lesnar, is without a doubt, one of the most decorated athletes in combat sports history. The former UFC Heavyweight Champion is a once in a lifetime athlete who has achieved humungous success in every trade that he has been in. From winning the NCAA World Champion in 2000 to being a six-time world champion in WWE and most impressive of them all, winning the UFC Heavyweight Championship, Lesnar's list of accomplishments is very impressive. But, in addition to being a great athlete, Lesnar is also one of the most shrewd businessmen in the industry.
It was recently noted MMA journalists, Ariel Helwani, that Lesnar had retired from MMA and that the company had scrapped the idea of having Lesnar face the current UFC Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. This isn't the first time that Lesnar has retired from MMA.
Lesnar had previously retired from the sport, first after his loss to Aleister Overeem at UFC 141 in 2011 and then again in 2017 following his suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a doping violation following his match against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Although Lesnar is a proven draw and is sure to bring new eyeballs to the product, does the UFC really need Brock Lesnar or is it the other way around?
At the age of 41, Lesnar isn't exactly in his prime to be fighting inside the octagon. He has been away from the sport for over three years ago and while it isn't something unusual in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, a lot has changed since Lesnar last fought inside the octagon.
One of the biggest gripes of MMA purists against the now scrapped DC-Lesnar fight has been that Lesnar is undeserving of a title fight especially when there are contenders like Francis Ngannou, Junior Dos Santos and even former champion Stipe Miocic. The UFC's heavyweight division is the most stacked than it has ever been in the company's history. The company should've instead booked Lesnar against a top-ranked heavyweight like JDS or Derrick Lewis before he made his way up to title contention.
Besides, Lesnar's services don't come cheap. The former Universal Champion is one of the highest paid stars in WWE, only working a limited schedule while taking home a huge payday. It was reported that the negotiations between Lesnar and UFC broke down when Lesnar quoted a certain price to fight Cormier which the company didn't match.
With UFC moving their pay-per-views exclusively to ESPN +, the dynamics of how fighters on a PPV card are paid has changed. The UFC is excepted to pocket in a guaranteed sum of money in the form of " license fee" in addition to a percentage of the PPV sale.
Lesnar has already been announced for WWE's upcoming Saudi Arabia show in June which could be an indication of Lesnar finally closing the door on his MMA career. The UFC has a lot of things going for it at the moment and they have made a wise decision by not re-signing Lesnar.
The UFC has already lost high-profile names like Connor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, which hasn't dented the company's prospect in any way, shape or form. The company is at the height of its popularity and despite the TV numbers, the company is making a huge amount of money from its current deal with ESPN. Lesnar, on the other hand, had a lot of proving to do, if he were to return to MMA.