The most shocking news of the week is certainly that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar will return to the Octagon at UFC 200 after a four and a half year absence, during which he has been a semi-regular performer for the WWE. The real tricky thing, though, is that Lesnar is still under contract with Vince McMahon’s pro wrestling company (and expected to compete at SummerSlam in August), leaving many to fans to ask, “what the hell is going on?”
Traditionally, members of the WWE are not allowed to compete for other organizations (regardless of the fights being real or staged). The inverse is true, as well, with UFC fighters not allowed to compete for competing organizations. And regardless of what Dana White or Vince McMahon might say publicly, make no mistake — the UFC and the WWE are competitors. They target the same demographic, a lot of the same advertisers, and compete for your entertainment dollars. So having Lesnar cross over like this is a bit of a groundbreaking moment.
Lesnar appeared on ESPN’s SportsCenter to talk about the big announcement, including how he convinced McMahon to give him this unique opportunity to try his hand at MMA once more.
“I said, ‘Listen, old man, we can do this the hard way or the easy way,'” said Lesnar, according to Sherdog.com. “I said, ‘Do you wanna arm-wrestle for it?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, what the hell.’ So, I ended up beating him, and here we are.”
There you have it. They arm wrestled for it.
Lesnar ran up a 5-3 record in his first stint as an MMA fighter, including beating Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight title and defending it two times (Frank Mir and Shane Carwin) before finally losing it to Cain Velasquez. Around the same time, he began to battle a severe bout of diverticulitis, an illness that made it impossible to compete on the same level as he had previously.
The expectation is that Lesnar’s reappearance in the UFC is a one-time deal. He will be facing off against the heavy hitting Mark Hunt. We don’t really know what to expect, but one thing’s for sure — we’ll be watching!