I was a guest on Steve Cofield's radio show on ESPN Las Vegas 1100 yesterday evening to discuss UFC heavyweight Brock Lesnar being selected as a coach for season 13 of Spike TV's "The Ultimate Fighter". More specifically, I was asked to respond to the idiocy from some hardcore fans about the selection.
Allow me to be blunt: you are an idiot if you think this is a bad move. There really is no other way to word it. It's a complete win for the UFC in every conceivable way. I outline some in the video, so watch it to get a broader sense of what's going on.
But let me expand on a couple of points. First, this idea that Lesnar doesn't have enough knowledge to be a coach with a lot to offer is the height of not understanding what this show is about. While the search for top talent via the show hasn't been completely called off, there isn't an active manhunt anymore. The show is about keeping the UFC brand on TV and the sport of MMA afloat. Guess what Lesnar does better than any fighter on the roster? Deliver the audience to make use of the platform. End of debate.
Second, the nimbleness of the UFC is being completely overlooked. Here we have an MMA organization with a champion sidelined for an entire year, a competitor making waves with their heavyweight division tournament and a reality show that needs a star because it can only deliver consistent if unimpressive ratings. And what do they do? Both recognize the need to quickly adapt to market forces and make the moves within their capacity.
The beauty of TUF is that while its primary function is to serve as a long commercial for the UFC, it's also a vehicle the organization has used to address sticky problems. When Kimbo Slice needed a venue to demonstrate his mettle before being greenlit for a PPV, the reality show was the perfect proving grounds. Now that the UFC needs to direct attention back to their heavyweights when Strikeforce is ready to shine, they've got the biggest star in the sport who just happens to be a heavyweight that has never done a reality show before actually doing a reality show. That is the very definition of "win".
TUF is not centrally about finding and grooming top talent. It's first about brand visibility and awareness and second about addressing important needs the company has to handle, be they in house resource issues or external competitive issues. Lesnar serving as a coach addresses all of them while also delivering what should be excellent television ratings - an important step towards keeping the sport consistently on TV.
There are other reasons this works. It obviously promotes what should be a hugely successful fight between Lesnar and Junior dos Santos down the line. It'll also make dos Santos more of a known commodity. But these are ancillary benefits to more central needs that Lesnar's placement fulfills.
How on earth can some of you complain? Could you be more clueless?