The new Brock Lesnar doesn't even sport this epic beard. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
If the old Brock Lesnar was a Baptist preacher, full of fire and brimstone, angry about the strange world he found outside his Minnesota hunting cabin, the new and supposedly improved Lesnar is your garden variety Presbyterian. He asks about "Mama and them' and sits quietly through church. His voice rarely switches volume or octave. He's your typical respectful and grounded mixed martial arts warrior. And I hate him for it.
Like it or not, you could always count on the old Brock Lesnar. He was a tremendous breath of fresh air, bursting onto the scene like a bull in a sea of red. Lesnar entered a world of respectful martial artists, men who always thanked their sponsors and said the right things. Lesnar took one look at the culture and immediately put his stamp on it.
While most mixed martial artists were so obsequious, Lesnar always said what he thought. Bud Light, the UFC's biggest sponsor? Piss water, not fit to drink. He was going with Coors. Did he respect his arch nemesis Frank Mir? Hell and no were the two answers to that one, and you'd better not ask him twice. Lesnar may not have been to your taste, but boy, I'll bet you had an opinion one way or another. He knew that love him or hate him, at least you were thinking about him.
Since a life changing battle with diverticulitis, that Lesnar has been gone, missing in action, a distant memory like Dan Severn's mustache, Ken Shamrock's Speedos, or that routine Tito Ortiz used to do when he won a fight. It's been so long I can't quite put a finger on what it was. The new Lesnar seems to have a healthy outlook on life. He's appreciating the world around him more, taking joy in family and friends. He probably even notices birds singing, marks his calendar for the first day of spring. The new Brock Lesnar is the kind of guy who sends thank you cards - you know, just for being you. I hate him.
Last night on The Ultimate Fighter, Brock Lesnar was boring. He was Matt Hughes without the inflated ego and biblical references, like a Rich Franklin lacking even the gumption to wear pink shorts. Last night he called the young aspirants "fella" and felt like a supportive Uncle. What the f*ck? To make matters worse, they showed highlights of the entire season. He didn't appear to raise his voice once. No chairs were thrown. If he went nose to nose with opposing coach Junior dos Santos, it was only to offer heart felt advice. Maybe even a hug. It's making me violently ill just thinking about it.
SPIKE TV can fix this. It's not too late. Bring Lesnar back in for one day of shooting. Just a single day, filming him randomly yelling cage side, indiscriminately breaking doors, and taking some poor sap's car in the parking lot and flipping it over with his bare hands. When you promise Brock Lesnar, you've got to deliver Brock Lesnar. I don't know who spent six weeks in Las Vegas, but he wasn't the Brock Lesnar I want to see.
Some men are born to be the villain. Take Tito Ortiz. He had a brief run as the good guy coach in The Ultimate Fighter's third season. Mostly due to Ken Shamrock's utter ineptitude (like bringing in a coach to decide whether the boys ate chicken or steak on a given night, but no coach to teach jiu jitsu. No, I'm not joking) Ortiz seemed like a rational adult. But it didn't take long for fans to boo Tito again. Cheering him just felt wrong. It's the same way with Lesnar. Even in the WWE, he was always best as the bad guy. No one wants to cheer a genetic God, blessed with strength and speed his opponents can only dream of. That's like rooting for Godzilla as he storms through Tokyo. It's not right. We need the old Brock back. The world needs a good villain - Brock Lesnar is ours.