Will Brock Lesnar Even Return to the UFC?

He's Brock Lesnar and he don't need nothing from nobody. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In the aftermath of Brock Lesnar's crushing loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, there has been a good deal of speculation about Brock's future. 

Brock Lesnar is an infamously reclusive man who hates dealing with the public, hates promoting fights and really really hates to travel. He quit the WWE for a variety of reasons but the constant travel was high on the list. He declined an offer to play in the NFL European leagues when that would likely have led to a career in the American NFL after a year or two. He turned down a very lucrative set of offers in Japan -- both as a pro-wrestler and with K-1/DREAM -- because he didn't want to travel.

He's also a man who's done very well for himself financially. He is believed to make about $5 million per UFC event and made good money in his last two years in the WWE as well. 

Although Ben Miller of the Wrestling Observer points out that Brock could be making much more money:

Even after being beaten by Velasquez, Lesnar is still underpaid by the standards of professional sports. It's doubtful that he even has a three million dollar guarantee per fight, much less the $10 million+ guarantee that a top agent and an expiring contract might net him.

WWE offered Mike Tyson $3.5 million thirteen years ago, and Brock's potential for WrestleMania XXVII may be even greater. The downside is that WWE (at the time, WWF) was coming off their finest year of booking in late 1997, while late 2010 seems them at a creative nadir. For that reason Brock with Undertaker may mean less for business than Tyson with Austin, but even half Tyson's purse would exceed Lesnar's recent UFC per-fight guarantees.

There is an argument that UFC would be wise to let Brock do his worked match with The Undertaker because it would brighten his star, but hat should be viewed with skepticism. Brock drew in the past even with pro wrestling's stink (in the eyes of many MMA fans) on him, but past performance is no guarantee of future results. If UFC views themselves as a global competitor to other mainstream sports, they'd be better off keeping the line between shoots and works as clear as possible.

All of this has fans speculating that he won't return to the Octagon. We'll hear from some long time Brock observers in the full entry.

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 Here's Geno Mrosko talking about Brock's history of quitting jobs:

After dominating the OVW, the WWE's feeder promotion at the time, he was called up to the main roster and given a monster push. In just a few short months he won the WWE title at the second biggest event of the year. He would win the title again the next year at WrestleMania, the biggest event the WWE puts on every year. He earned the right to do so by winning the Royal Rumble. Basically, he did everything there was to do in WWE within about a year's worth of time. So, being fed up with the travel schedule and the toll it took on his body, combined with the fact that he had accomplished everything there was to accomplish in the business, he abruptly left.

His next "lifelong dream" was to become a professional football player. He claimed he never wanted to go his whole life without ever trying so he walked on with the Minnesota Vikings. He actually did rather well playing in a few preseason games and was a late cut. The Vikings saw enough potential that they offered him a contract to go play in Europe. After claiming it was a lifelong dream to be a football player, he gave it up rather quickly and told them no, instead electing to go back to professional wrestling, this time in Japan. Much like in WWE, he quickly rose to the top there, winning the IWGP heavyweight championship. But just like every other time, after having great success early on, he left. Next stop: mixed martial arts.
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That's blatant speculation on my part. I'm not saying that's what he is doing or even that, that's been talked about. I just think it's worth noting that when Brock has achieved everything there is to achieve with a company, like he already has with the UFC, he's been known to cut and run and find something new to occupy his time with. Maybe this loss will make him hungrier than ever and he'll have a renewed vigor for the sport. But history has shown us that it's a very real possibility he may just decide to leave the sport altogether.

There's also the buzz about a possible Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar bout at WrestleMania this year. Undertaker and Brock had a stare down conveniently caught on video by Ariel Helwani after the UFC 121 Brock vs Cain Velasquez bout. Since then speculation has run rampant that the WWE wants Brock back. 

Clearly there is every reason for the WWE to want to book that "bout" -- they're doing terrible business this year and have no better prospects on the horizon. Everyone from Dana White to Dave Meltzer to the WWE's Jim Ross has denied that this bout is a possibility and I tend to agree. 

But here's what the Brock Lesnar vs Undertaker WrestleMania bout really is -- it's a signal to Dana White and the UFC that Brock Lesnar has, and always will have, extremely lucrative opportunities outside of the UFC. 

Brock may have no interest in returning to the WWE, even for one night's work that will pay millions. Making sure his boss knows that he has that option -- even if it requires a legal battle to get out of his contracts -- is an extremely strong negotiating chip. 

Even as the former champ and a possibly diminished draw, Lesnar is still a bigger PPV draw than anyone on the UFC roster and having him on board gives Joe Silva a number of attractive possibilities.

That's not the only big chip Brock has in his pile. The biggest thing Brock has going for him in talks with the UFC is his famous willingness to quit everything and go back to Minnesota. The guy has more than enough money to live the simple rural lifestyle he loves for the rest of his life already. Unlike virtually every fighter in MMA, the UFC needs Brock more than Brock needs the UFC. 

S.C. Michaelson has more:

Let's get it over with. Brock Lesnar is NOT fighting at Wrestlemania. HOWEVER, what you saw could be something leading to an angle AT Wrestlemania where he shows up (much like Mickey Rourke of The Wrestler and Chris Jericho did) and "confronts" someone. Or it could be him being a Mike Tyson-esque "Special Enforcer". At the very least, it could just be Brock Lesnar being a "Guest Host" on RAW like so many others have.

And why would Brock be willing to do this? Besides the money, Brock has a book coming out that he'd love to promote on WWF television. Ask Mick Foley, the several times New York Times Best Selling author how valuable that Monday Night audience is. And the clincher is, it's a media appearance and there's nothing in the UFC's contract that precludes him from doing a media appearance even for the competition. As you recall, Randy Couture was interviewed during a Strikeforce event.


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