By now, everyone has heard the rumors (via Fox Sports' Mike Chiappetta) that Brock Lesnar may or may not be returning to the UFC.
The idea of getting a pay-per-view draw like Lesnar back into the UFC is clearly intriguing, especially since Georges St-Pierre has walked away from the sport. Big events are built around big names, and the UFC needs big events like every other promotion.
But until I hear that a fight is actually signed, I will not believe that Lesnar is coming back. Not in any way, shape or form.
Right now, Lesnar is an athlete under some kind of contract with the WWE. How open or flexible that contract honestly is, we don’t really know.
But if one thing is clear, it’s that in the world of professional wrestling (i.e., the entertainment world), rumor and innuendo get people talking like nothing else, and that can be worth a lot of money.
Wrestling fans tune into the WWE for several reasons, chief among them being the unpredictability of that which they witness: “What’s going to happen next?”
They ponder everything from who is going to “turn heel” to how long the creative powers that be are going to allow the flavor of the day to wear the belt. In a realm where villains are every bit as important as heroes, Lesnar is coveted—pure and simple.
It’s not hard to believe that Lesnar would try to create a buzz around his name by starting a fire in the rumor mill. In the WWE, the questions seem to be worth as much as the answers—not a big stretch when you consider the scripted, soap-operatic nature of it all.
And the more people buy into any gossip that speaks to the idea he may be returning to the UFC, the more they want him to stay.
WWE fans are in on the joke, no question about it. They know how demanding the life of a professional wrestler is; they don’t want to see future storylines ruined due to the damage Lesnar may take returning to the UFC.
And so, everyone starts talking again, thanks in part to a tweet from Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times.
The truly interesting thing is, should Lesnar want to make even a limited return to the UFC, the time to do it would be now. With the departure of St-Pierre and the injury of Anderson Silva, Lesnar would command a lot of leverage in the contractual negotiations.
But would it be worth it for him?
Lesnar left the UFC after two bad defeats, but above all else it was probably his struggle with diverticulitis that was the deciding factor.
Lesnar came about as close to losing quality of life as one would care to. Fighting in a sport that will see opponents targeting his midsection with brutal kicks, punches and knees seems like a foolish risk.
Now, that is not to say that the life of a professional wrestler is not grueling, because it clearly is. But there is also safety in the script and that goes a long way to seeing an athlete enjoying the money he’s making.
In order to cast safety aside and make a return, the financial reward for Lesnar would have to be incredible. The UFC would have to prove that they value Lesnar more than the WWE does, and right now that is doubtful.
But in this sport, and with an athlete as daring and unpredictable as Lesnar, anything can happen if enough zeroes show up on the check.