Dana White Must Evaluate Heavyweight Division, Not Lesnar

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Dana White Must Evaluate Heavyweight Division, Not Lesnar
(Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

Perhaps Brock Lesnar mistook the octagon for a wrestling ring after seeing his belt returned to him amid a successful title defence against challenger and interim champion Frank Mir.

Lesnar certainly used the canvas as his personal stomping ground, trampling on it with the menace and effusiveness of a feral, 265-pound primate.

Add shots of saliva to the image, too.

But there was definitely a reason for him to rejoice, with his tool of vengeance—a brace of abnormal hands and customized mitts—used to strategic and jarring expedience.

There was obviously the lasting spectre of his previous encounter with Mir, the one Lesnar repeatedly attributed to the intervention of luck rather than naivety, lingering in the air.

There was the realization that he had conquered Mir on the ground, the touted area of authority for the eventual loser.

There was the underlying hate and animosity between two combatants ready to engage in a rematch not only signifying a unification of belts, but one that would determine the face of the UFC’s heavyweight division.

And out of it all, MMA fans in the U.S., Canada and worldwide are conferred a villain and common target of derision.

“I love it,” Lesnar said in acknowledgment of the crowd’s jeering. “Keep it coming.”

Like Dan Henderson’s needless punch on Ultimate Fighter rival Michael Bisping early in the pay-per-view lineup, Lesnar sent an irritable finger-flip in the direction of the fans simply for good measure.

He basically turned into a flea circus, an act UFC boss Dana White has discouraged from his prized fighters.

“Straight WWE,” White told Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports after the post-fight conference. “Brock went so far over the top tonight I can’t even describe it. I don’t think in the history of the UFC we’ve ever done anything like that.”

Not that having a scoundrel running rampant is necessarily a bad thing; it’s just accentuated when that same specimen happens to hold the title and actually have some credentials. Because abhorrence, a la show business, can generate so much interest.

But Lesnar has only experienced four fights in the UFC, and has been in a title position twice. That goes to show that the 32-year-old champion represents little in the way of other fighters and how they have established their careers.

“Hell, I might even get on top of my wife tonight,” a smug Lesnar said to commentator Joe Rogan immediately after his defence, a statement for which he later apologized. It was White who had coaxed Lesnar into repentance to demonstrate that derogatory remarks and disrespect aren’t tolerated in the UFC.

Controversy aside, here is a lumberjack of a man in Lesnar, a gigantic athlete now with his wrestling seemingly adapted to the confines of the octagon in—still—the beginning stages of his MMA career with possibly no one but a remote Fedor Emelianenko, who is in the final months of his contract with Affliction, capable of stealing the heavyweight title.

Another bout against Mir, to cap off a trilogy, would be more of a headline than a legitimate threat to the overwhelming prowess of Lesnar—unless Mir can rejuvenate his training regimen and avoid making hasty errors like the flying knee in the second round.

An undefeated Shane Carwin may be worth calling, but he has yet to fight elite talent. Nor has Cain Velasquez, but he is still regarded as the next prodigious fighter in the UFC.

Before last night, however, Lesnar was an athlete with a profound background in wrestling—in the entertainment aspect of it as well as the mastery of its technique. He fought a fleeting Randy Couture and won in UFC 91—an upset, but one that could be argued against.

His frame did match the size of his ego, but all of that lacked substance. The bravado he gave off had the effect of steam from a train, apparent but later vaporised or gone unacknowledged.

There the man was, proprietor of the title but still in need of proving he can avenge and deal with the biggest loss in his petite career that has incidentally yielded so much.

Mir was hammered down like an upright nail, and now Lesnar is looking for the next one.

But White knew exactly what would happen when he signed Lesnar to a contract. The villainous qualities were inbred in the fighter’s appearance and antagonistic speech.

“Brock hasn’t made himself very lovable,” White said, an understatement at the very least. “They hate Brock.”

And White was then the one who immersed Lesnar into the upper echelons of the heavyweight class like a match lit hurriedly. This personality—the by-product of Lesnar’s rapid ascent—was unleashed.

The PR game is intensifying, though. The sport is feeling the ride of a projectile into mainstream recognition, and White, it seems apparent, must pursue signing Fedor to keep Lesnar and his weight division away from entering the checkmate position it may inhabit.

The image Lesnar exudes is only healthy when there's some else there prompt to derail him.

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