(Does this look like the face of a man who is pumped for Wrestlemania? PicProps: BloodyElbow)
Right on schedule, the Internets are in full-on meltdown mode this Monday morning concerning all things Brock Lesnar. Lesnar fans who talked him up as an unstoppable juggernaut as late as Friday afternoon are now backtracking, suddenly focusing more on his inexperience than his otherworldly physical prowess. Cain Velasquez supporters are getting their gloat on, as well they should, after Velasquez put a king sized beating on Lesnar at UFC 121. We blogging scumbags are attacking the former champ’s striking skills, his game plan and his training camp. Many of us are wondering aloud about Lesnar’s future in the sport, how he’ll rebound from this and what in the bejeezus is going to happen to our precious heavyweight rankings now.
For his part, UFC President Dana White is insinuating that the whitetail deer population of southwestern Minnesota might be a bit inflated come spring, since he believes Lesnar will cancel much of his planned time off in order to get back in the gym and back in the Octagon ASAP. Then there’s this goddamned Undertaker thing, which is threatening to take on a life of its own.
First, the real stuff. White told the cast of ESPN’s MMA Live on Saturday night that he thinks this pretty embarrassing loss will light a fire in Lesnar. He said that he wouldn’t be surprised if Lesnar’s scheduled vacation time fell by the wayside in favor of rededicating himself to MMA.
“We’re going to find out the real competitive side of Brock Lesnar here,” White said. “I have a feeling, knowing him, his plans are going to be cut short. I think obviously he’s going to go hunting and spend some time with his family, but I think we’ll see him back a lot sooner than what we had planned.”
Now rumors are starting to emerge that maybe Lesnar’s “plans” also included a one-off WWE match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania next March or April. A herd of Online types are calling bullshit on Mark Calaway’s bizarre and brief confrontation with Lesnar on Saturday night, which was captured on film by Ariel Helwani and later posted on AOL’s MMAFighting.com. That gossip even had enough legs to nab publication by the UK Sun.
If that’s true, allow me to say: Nicely done, WWE. Indeed, the Undertaker was acting pretty weird at UFC 121. He attempted to sell some kind of personal beef with Lesnar during the interview with Helwani, but then sounded far more complementary of his former pro-wrestling co-worker in this later video spot with Fight! Magazine. Besides, the 45-year-old Calaway trying to hype a wrestling angle with Lesnar makes a lot more sense than him legitimately trying to get in Lesnar’s face immediately following the UFC main event.
Maybe the two wrestlers had some kind of post-fight confrontation planned that Lesnar scrapped after the loss. That would certainly explain the Undertaker asking the dejected and dethroned former champion, “You want to do it?” as he made his somber walk from the cage to the locker room. Whatever the case, we can be reasonably assured that Helwani and AOL had nothing to do with it and that The Undertaker acted alone.
When Helwani later asked White about the possibility of Lesnar making another WWE appearance, the UFC Prez squirmed a little bit before answering.
“I don’t know if he is or isn’t,” White said. “I would find that hard to believe. The Undertaker has been coming for a long time … If those guys were going back and forth, it’s because they’re friends.”
While a Lesnar Wrestlemania spot certainly makes sense for Vince McMahon and his flagging company, the two sides didn’t part ways on good terms back in 2004 and there’s no way to know how much healing has gone on between the two since. Obviously, the WWE would throw a boatload of money at Lesnar for one night’s work in order to get a rub off him and the swelling popularity of the UFC.
That said, it doesn’t seem to make sense at all for White and/or for Lesnar’s future in MMA. All Brock’s talk during the recent “UFC Primetime” specials about how he “just wanted to be a gladiator” and become the best MMA fighter he could be sure didn’t make it sound like any more fake fighting was in his future. As MMA fans – and let’s face it, the sport is more interesting with Lesnar in it than not – let’s hope this isn’t true. You think the dude looked unprepared for Velasquez, imagine what his training will be like if he’s trying to split time between two jobs.