Brock Lesnar retired Saturday night after getting the liver kick of doom from Alistair Overeem. I will admit I will miss him. He's had a rough couple of years, and it's amazing that he never once shied away from a fight. Yes, he looked less than impressive against Carwin, Valasquez and now Overeem. But he fought the murderer's row of heavyweights. Is he a "fighter?" I don't really know. Maybe he is, maybe he isn't. But I still maintain Lesnar's complications with diverticulitis changed him. I have a friend who was diagnosed with diverticulitis, so I have seen what that illness can do to someone, which makes Lesnar's willingness to fight all that more impressive.
Health issues mess with your head. When you can no longer trust your own body, it's scary. When you come across your first real health scare, you realize you are not invincible, and that can be frightening. I just recently had a heath scare, and while it turned out to be something easily handled, for 6 months I felt incredibly vulnerable, because I expected the worst
Some people will always dislike Lesnar, and some of those people will never give him the respect he deserves. That's fine. But it was sort of disheartening to read comments about how people were happy the Lesnar circus is finally over. Personally, I loved it. I loved it because it brought real attention to the sport of MMA. There are some defining moments in MMA, and I believe Lesnar's entrance into the sport marked a real, and massive bump to the exposure of the sport. Yes, he'd built his popularity from fake wrestling, but he drew massive numbers of casual eyeballs to the sport, and for that, he needs to be thanked. There is a progression to how things break out into the popular culture. Sometimes it's instant and blinding, other times it's a slow growth with real moments of opportunity that needs to be capitalized on, of which Lesnar's hiring was one. A lot of people have to be thankful for Lesnar; other fighters, hardcore fans, etc.
Will he come out of retirement a year or two later? Maybe. But this does feel sort of final, and it did seem to ring true when he announced it. In a way, I think many people expected it. He's got a lot of money. He doesn't need to be punched in the face anymore. And to those who suspect Brock threw the fight? C'mon. Whether he showed up to just collect a final paycheque, or whether this was some sort of agreement with the UFC that he'll show and then he would be free of his contract, who knows. But the point is, Lesnar deserves respect.
Thanks Brock. It was a fun ride.