Here’s a situation that should serve as a microcosm of the MMA world for you: on Monday Brock Lesnar pulls out of his heavyweight title fight with Shane Carwin at UFC 106, citing a severe illness that Dana White is somehow certain is not the dreaded H1N1 virus. Just two days later, the same guy who broke the Lesnar story is suggesting that he may be faking it, pointing to Lesnar’s appearance at a Vikings-Ravens game on October 18 and a conversation with White who said Lesnar didn’t sound ill when they spoke. According to a mailbag response from Kevin Iole:
White further said Lesnar told him he is not sure if he could fight in January. I asked if Lesnar sounded ill when they spoke and he said no. White said he had breakfast with Lesnar in Las Vegas about a month ago and said Lesnar told him at that time he wanted to fight frequently. Something doesn’t add up here and this bears further watching.
All right, let’s get something straight, MMA world. I’ve been very patient with you over the last decade or so, but if it turns out that Lesnar is just pretending to be sick so he can play Fezzik in a remake of “The Princess Bride,” it’s over between us.
Now that that’s out of the way, are we really going to accuse Lesnar of playing sick based on his promotional appearance at a pro football game? It’s not as if he put on pads and played defensive end. As any of us who have ever soldiered into work with the flu know, you can show up for stuff even if you’re sick. If all you have to do is stand around and wave, maybe blow a giant horn and spread your germs to the entire enclosed arena, it’s not out of the question even if you feel terrible. What’s a little more difficult is strenuous physical activity, such as training for a championship fight. Just ask Lesnar’s coaches and training partners.
And you’ll have to pardon me if I don’t think that assessing how sick a guy sounds over the phone is an accurate way of diagnosing an illness. He’s not calling in sick to Arby’s here; there’s no need to make sure and cough during the conversation just to sell it. I suppose it’s at least possible that Lesnar is making all this up so he can avoid Carwin, but I think we need a little more to go on before we start demanding to see his doctor’s note.