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Is Brock Lesnar Running Away From the UFC?

Photo by <a href="" target="new">MMA Junkie</a>
Photo by MMA Junkie

A little over a year ago I posted Zach Arnold's supposition that Brock Lesnar would ultimately wander away from the UFC just as he has wandered away from every other endeavor he's pursued in his career. 

The response was uniformly negative and dismissive. 

A year later Dave Meltzer is openly discussing (subscription required) Lesnar's lack of interest in continuing his UFC career after losing his heavyweight title to Cain Velasquez in October. summarized Meltzer's commentary:

According to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports/Wrestling Observer, Brock is currently looking for an "exit strategy" from the UFC.

Meltzer said on his radio show that the fight with Velasquez has changed Brock's attitude on fighting and he is at the stage in his life where he doesn't want to get injured. He's very well off financially and the business man in him apparently knows that it may be time to move on.

Meltzer also mentioned that Brock hasn't trained a single day since the Velasquez fight nor he has returned any phone calls to Dana or Zuffa about upcoming matches.

Dave pointed out if Brock was motivated, he would be right back in the gym training and bringing in new coaches with the goal of beating Cain yet he isn't doing that. He's hunting and hasn't even thought about his next fight. Lesnar apparently wants to do WrestleMania "badly" and will earn an estimated 2 million dollars for 30 minutes of work.

Everything is pointing towards Brock having one more fight and ending his contract. His head doesn't seem to be in the fighting game and it looks like it was just yet another successful business move.

Zach Arnold enjoys some "I toldja so":

One of the stories that I've longed warned everyone about is the career of Brock Lesnar in the UFC. We know his history - he does something for a little while, makes some money or fame, and moves on before he gets completely exposed and runs out of sugar daddies willing to recruit him into something else. In many ways, he reminds me of having the spirit of Bruiser Brody (look him up on Google, non-wrestling fans) leaving one place after another before his welcome is warn out. Lesnar was in WWE for a few years, then he went to try out for the Minnesota Vikings, then he went to New Japan, and eventually ended up in UFC.
What's intriguing about UFC being relucant to allow Brock to appear at Wrestlemania is that not only is UFC destroying WWE in PPV buys but they have also taken away a lot of disgruntled WWE/wrestling fans who are sick of the McMahon/Kevin Dunn cookie-cutter production. In one respect, Dana's objections make complete and total business sense. On the other hand, why should he be worried about Lesnar appearing at Wrestlemania if the public at-large knows that UFC is real and WWE is not so much? Despite the amazing growth of UFC, I do think the situation with Lesnar indicates how nervous people in MMA still are to the fact that the public at-large, or at least the media, is willing to lump the two into the same business category.

Brock Lesnar is who we thought he was - and we've been saying it for many, many years on Fight Opinion.

The UFC had a record year in 2010. Brock Lesnar played no small part in that success, headlining as he did two of their biggest pay-per-view events of the year. 

The UFC will continue to be massively successful without Brock Lesnar, but there is no one on the horizon to match his appeal to fans. 

Keep in mind that this could be a negotiating ploy to get more from Dana White. It's been widely speculated that Lesnar would like to headline WrestleMania in 2011 and Dana won't let him. White has openly discussed his desire to book Lesnar against Frank Mir as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter. Rumors of a Brendan Schaub vs Frank Mir match in spring 2011 seemed to have scotched that possibility, but yesterday's announcement that Schaub would be facing Stefan Struve Mirko Filipovic aka Cro Cop, re-opens Mir-Lesnar 3 as a possible capper to an epic season of TUF

My bet (hope) is that Meltzer's source is someone in the Lesnar camp (ie Paul Heyman) who is trying to talk up Lesnar's disinterest in returning to the UFC in order to raise the asking price. 

UPDATE: Dave Meltzer commented today on Wrestling Observer radio (subscription required) about all the speculation he has triggered:

"Brock Lesnar. Oh my God! I didn't say he was never going to fight again. I thought I made it pretty clear that I expected him to fight once next year or maybe even twice. It's amazing how things get blown out of proportion."

This in conjunction with the Mir-Schaub fight being off makes me even more convinced that there is some serious horse-trading going on between Lesnar and the UFC.