Nobody likes Brock Lesnar.
Nobody dislikes him either.
The current UFC Heavyweight Champion has found himself in a very unique and enjoyable situation as he stands to face the Undefeated #1 Contender Cain Velasquez on Saturday October 23rd, and that situation is this:
Brock Lesnar...you either love him or you hate him.
Today I found myself defending the Champ as I argued with several other UFC fans as to the place at which Lesnar sits atop the UFC. Phrases thrown were similar in nature, "The UFC babies him; He's not the real Champ; He's not as good as everyone thinks he is; The Carwin fight would have been stopped for any other fighter."
By the end of these conversations I found myself ready to jump into the octagon just to defend a man I have never met!
Trying to turn the conversation to a more pleasant topic, I asked one friend if he had yet to take my advice and watch the television series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand". His response? "That's not how things really were, and it's not as good as everyone thinks it is..."
This got me thinking...
It's a far cry to compare a real life Mixed Martial Artist to a "Gladitorial Portrayal of Ancient Rome," but look at the similarities:
Outsider enters a group shrouded in unwritten rules of honor, a quick fall to a more experienced challenger, a premature rise to glory over a champion, an illness that leaves him unable to compete, and finally, a return to glory as the Champion rises to remove all doubt.
(I'll leave out the part where he leads the rest of the UFC fighters in a revolution against the Owners and President of the company.)
Whether or not it is currently deserved, there is and will always be a chapter in the UFC history books titled "Brock Lesnar."
He is brash, he is reclusive, he is a giant in the octagon.
He's had huge wins, near falls, and he'll be the first to tell you just how tough of an S.O.B. his is.
He brings back an old adage that my father and his friends used to abide by: The world loves to watch a big guy fight!
We buy the Pay Per Views he headlines because at the end of the night we are either dying to see him holding the belt or dying to see someone standing over him.
There is no middle ground with this modern day gladiator. You either love him or you hate him, and that's what makes this time so remarkable in the Heavy Weight Division.
Love and hate are emotions that bind us to whatever object we place them upon. Just as surely as I will be sitting on the edge of my seat hoping to see Lesnar KO Cain this Saturday night, someone next to me will be hoping the same thing for his opponent.
Lesnar has brought emotion back to the UFC. Emotion that comes as needed as rain during a drought! Emotion that makes us get out there and root for these men who put it on the line on a Saturday night for the hopes of victory and glory! Hopes that someday their name will be said with pride and admiration...that their sacrifice will live on long after the next champion has come and gone.
A win Saturday night would solidify Lesnar's standing as a truely great champion...and a win for Cain could be the start of his chapter in the book of champions...
Till then...I just hope it keeps raining...