LAS VEGAS - JULY 03: Brock Lesnar reacts after his second round submission victory against Shane Carwin to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship Unification bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on July 3 2010 in Las Vegas Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Well look what we have here.
UFC 146: "Dos Santos vs. Mir" took place last night (Sat., May 26, 2012) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and featured Junior dos Santos defending his heavyweight championship with a second round knockout victory over Frank Mir.
But just before the main event kicked off, word quickly got around that Brock Lesnar had shown up to sit next to UFC President Dana White to watch it all unfold. Indeed he had, as evidenced by the pictures that quickly started floating around on social media sites, even those released by the UFC itself.
What was he doing there, though? Simply enjoying a nice evening in "Sin City" and visiting old friends? Or was he there on business?
Depending on who you believe, it was very much the latter. Apparently, Lesnar had texted White one week ago and told him he wanted to attend the event but to keep this a secret. He also said he wanted to talk business, according to White, who claims the two will be meeting soon to determine whether or not Brock will be making a return to the Octagon. He said all this, it should be noted, with a shit-eating grin on his face.
The first question you're likely asking is how is this possible while Lesnar is under contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE)? And that's a fair inquiry. Again, though, it depends on who you want to believe regarding information on his contract. The originally reported deal was for one year and $5 million, scheduled to run through WrestleMania 29 (April 7, 2013) next year.
Now, new information is coming out (and what a coincidence that folks would claim to know the workings of it just now of all times) alleging Lesnar's contract with WWE is non-exclusive and he's able to return to mixed martial arts (MMA) if he so chooses.
So is that what's happening? We'll have to stay tuned on that but doesn't this entire situation seem extremely odd?
Lesnar's MMA career seemed to be going swimmingly, as he was king of the heavyweight mountain and making a ton of money by selling more PPVs than anyone in the history of the fight game. He was on top of the world and feeling as good as can be.
Then he was hit with his first bout of diverticulitis and the cracks in the armor started to show.
He narrowly avoided losing his title to Shane Carwin before getting utterly embarrassed by Cain Velasquez. He was hit with another bout of diverticulitis before coming back for one more fight against Alistair Overeem, a bout he was soundly defeated in.
He would then claim that his plan was to beat Overeem then defeat Junior dos Santos to win the heavyweight championship one more time before retiring on top. But because he was beaten by "The Reem," he just decided to retire right then and there.
Not long after, he signed his deal with WWE and made his return on the first episode of Monday Night Raw following WrestleMania 28 to begin a program with John Cena, a man he reportedly didn't like the first time he was working with the company some eight or nine years ago.
The two would have a match at the Extreme Rules PPV event on April 29 in Chicago, Illinois, and while the match seemed to have gone well, Cena cut a promo immediate after that was reportedly not in the script and apparently pissed Lesnar off. The idea, as many dirt sheets revealed, was that Lesnar would do the job for Cena but Cena would go out on a stretcher so everyone would keep their heat and not look any worse for the wear.
So when Cena cut a promo that destroyed all that and made Lesnar look like shit, he allegedly threw a fit backstage and threatened to quit the company. Where it gets interesting is that no one could determine whether this was a work or legitimate, with multiple reports going out that it was a little bit of both. Brock was legitimately mad but WWE wanted people to think he was threatening leaving because of the storyline they were getting ready to play out.
That storyline turned out to be Triple H returning to tell Lesnar he wouldn't be getting any perks in his contract, leading to Lesnar attacking "The Game" and leaving him with a (kayfabe) broken arm, presumably to set up a match between the two later on. By all accounts, the match is supposed to take place at SummerSlam in August.
After his attack on Triple H, Lesnar left and hasn't been seen on WWE television since. Instead, the company brought back Paul Heyman to act as his representation to continue the angle. The reason for this was reportedly because they were burning through too many of Lesnar's contracted dates and they wanted to keep enough open to properly hype his upcoming matches, whenever they may be.
And then all this happens with Lesnar showing up at a UFC PPV event and Dana White acting all giddy about his cash cow potentially making a return to his promotion.
This all seems so very odd because it feels too much like it could simply be Vince McMahon and company working Dana White and the UFC into thinking Lesnar is coming back and giving them a bunch of free publicity in the process. That assumes that White isn't in the know and is the mark here, which could be the case or it could not. Unless, of course, Lesnar's contract really does have it written in that he can do both at the same time if he so chooses, and he's going back to test the waters after not liking the WWE he came back to that didn't receive him in the manner he had hoped.
It's possible, too, that Lesnar is just in business for himself and he's doing whatever he feels will make him the most money. And while his deal with WWE is rather lucrative, the Extreme Rules PPV buyrate may have made him wonder if he wouldn't be better off pulling one million buys for UFC and getting a huge chunk off the back end as part of a PPV bonus.
For what it's worth, neither MMA writers or pro wrestling insiders so far have been able to discern what exactly is going on here. Everyone is treating this like it's legitimate and Lesnar could very well end up either ditching WWE altogether to return to the UFC or, and this seems absolutely insane, doing both at the same time.
All we can say for now, Cagesiders, is to stay tuned. This story has a lot more angles to be covered.