Over at our sister site MMAFighting, Dave Meltzer has a new report on what lead to Brock Lesnar winning Raw’s Universal championship at Crown Jewel, and what it means for the next few months of WWE and UFC’s main event scene.
Not surprisingly, there were two big influences on WWE’s decision to re-sign Lesnar: Saudi Arabian cash and a Roman Reigns-sized hole in Vince McMahon’s plans.
The money from Crown Jewel was initially only going to keep Brock around until that show, according to Meltzer’s sources. But the news Reigns (real name Joe Anoa’i) was leaving to get treatment for leukemia led McMahon to make another offer to Lesnar. This one was agreed to in secret. It’s duration is also being kept under wraps, although it lasts until at least WrestleMania 35 in April of 2019.
Will Paul Heyman’s client remain Universal titleholder for that long? There’s nothing in the report specifying that’s the plan, but it’s not an unreasonable assumption to make. Vince hasn’t booked Brock as a challenger much over the last few years, and with talk of the man he’s currently feuding with, Braun Strowman, possibly working through injury, WWE brass may not see anyone ready to dethrone the Beast and serve as the male face of the company among their current roster.
There’s also Lesnar’s mixed martial arts future to consider. A few weeks ago, a return to the Octagon for a heavyweight title fight against Daniel Cormier looked like a done deal. The suspension for PEDs that wiped out his last UFC fight would be over in early 2019. But with Cormier having just fought last Saturday and repeatedly saying he plans to retire around his 40th birthday in March, there’s not much time left for that bout to happen. Meltzer says his new WWE contract allows Brock to take a UFC fight, but it’s not clear he wants to do that while semi-regularly appearing in the scripted world of pro wrestling.
UFC president Dana White’s latest comments on Lesnar’s return to MMA are a lot less definitive than what he was saying around the time of WrestleMania 34, and can be read as backing up Meltzer’s report.
We’ll have to see if Lesnar/Cormier ever happens, or if this paves the way for another Cormier vs. Jon Jones fight... and eventually a Jones vs. Brock bout.
In the meantime, it looks like the Beast is back for more than just Survivor Series and Royal Rumble.
Check out Dave Meltzer’s entire story on the Brock Lesnar situation at MMAFighting here.