Former UFC Heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar continues to be at the center of a he-said-he-said drama between the UFC and the WWE. Lesnar, who retired from MMA following his UFC 141 loss to Alistair Overeem on December 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, then returned to the WWE where he has had very mixed success.
Lesnar's return appearance on RAW drew banner ratings but his PPV debut was a bit of a bust and he had to "take a loss" against John Cena. Lesnar then showed up at UFC 146 and had a high profile, if supposedly unproductive meeting with UFC brass Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta. Since then Lesnar has been written off the WWE programming and his expected return match against Triple H at SummerSlam is up in the air.
Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Weekly (subscription required) has more:
The WWE side almost universally claims that Brock has an iron-clad contract and that there is no way he could fight for UFC until that contract expires following WrestleMania 29 in April of 2013. On the UFC side, there are people who insist that his contract is non-exclusive (more than one source used the term "on loan to WWE"), and that he and White were discussing a potential fight during the meeting. Not everyone in UFC believes he'll fight. Some believe that even if his WWE contract allowed it, his heart really isn't into fighting and all of this is some sort of ploy by Lesnar to increase his bargaining power or leverage with WWE.
Geno Mrosko of Cageside Seats attempts to make sense of the mess:
All we can really tell here is Lesnar is definitely in business for himself. But that's not exactly news. When he left UFC, he had one fight left on his contract but the understanding was that if he retired and wanted to go to WWE, White would allow him to do so. And why wouldn't he? It seems interesting now, though, that Lesnar has dipped his toe back in the Octagon waters and perhaps gotten White's hopes up for a return to fighting that hasn't come to pass. That could be why folks are maintaining that Brock will return at some point soon. If White wanted to make a power play, theoretically, he could.
Even with new information here, I maintain my stance that Lesnar is simply leveraging himself for better treatment while he works with WWE. His career in fighting could still be lucrative but if he went back and was badly beaten, as he has been the last two times in the cage, it would badly damage his brand, perhaps beyond repair. And with his appeal already seemingly at a low point based on the Extreme Rules buyrate (and you know the right folks will spin it that way), he needs to maintain whatever appeal he still has left.
From the UFC side of the ledger, even a greatly diminished Brock Lesnar is someone they could desperately huge to headline a PPV or a FOX TV special. With headliners like Georges St. Pierre, Cain Velasquez, Jose Aldo, and Dominick Cruz all out nursing injuries and stars like Nick Diaz and Alistair Overeem serving suspensions, the UFC needs all the name stars they can book.