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Brock Lesnar Is Probably Coming Back to the UFC (But It Doesn’t Matter. Here’s Why)


(Brock Lesnar flashes a rare smile after being informed he’s the highest-paid 5-3 fighter of all time. / Photo via Getty)

By Matt Saccaro

Brock Lesnar will likely return to the UFC in 2015, but it won’t usher in a new golden age for MMA.

The news of Lesnar’s UFC return came recently. Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that “within the [WWE], the belief is that he’s going back to the UFC, and his showing up lighter to TV last week confirmed that to people who thought it.”

Earlier this year, UFC President Dana White expressed openness to a Lesnar return, and even claimed Lesnar was willing to return. “We have a great relationship with him,” said White. “We’ll see what happens.”

Furthermore, Lesnar’s longtime friend Paul Heyman noted this summer that Lesnar still has an intense drive to compete in the Octagon.

Unlike every other time Brock Lesnar’s name has been in the headlines over the last few years, this round of “Is Lesnar coming back” speculation isn’t a gimmick to drive up pageviews during a slow news week. This appears to be the real deal. Lesnar is coming back. However, unlike conventional wisdom would have you believe, it won’t do a damn thing to turn the UFC’s fortunes around.

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Five Obvious but Overlooked Things Fans Need to Remember About the UFC


(Just keep repeating to yourself, “Nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…nobody’s making me watch this…”)

By Matt Saccaro

The UFC has come under fire lately for several reasons: Declining numbers, oversaturation, the fading of their stars, launching a digital network with a questionable premise, not hiring Ben Askren and so on. When we fling insults at the UFC, we need to remember a few things about the company in order to put these negative occurrences and circumstances into perspective. Let’s start with the most obvious but frequently-ignored point:

1. The UFC is a business.

The purpose of the UFC is to make its owners money. The UFC does not exist to feed fighters’ families. There’s not much else to say on this front. Companies have to make money to be viable. Yeah, it sucks that some guys get paid an absurdly small amount of money for what they do, and it sucks that the UFC is upping the PPV price.

That’s just something we have to deal with though. If you don’t like it, vote with your dollar. If enough people tune out, Zuffa’s wallet will know and they’ll either change their tune accordingly or lose money.

2. The UFC is an international company.

There’s been talk about the UFC hiring unfit-for-television jobbers lately. It’s true but necessary. The UFC is headed to distant lands where MMA is in its most nascent stages. The talent pool in these places is more like a mud puddle. The UFC has to work with what it’s given in China and Singapore. Deepening foreign talent pools can only happen by growing the sport overseas, and growing the sport overseas can only happen when they have foreign (foreign to us, home grown to them) fighters on the card. And since there aren’t many great foreign fighters, the UFC has to scrape the bottom of a very empty barrel. This results in fighters getting a place in the “Super Bowl of MMA” who shouldn’t even be in the bleachers, let alone on the field.

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UFC’s Wizard of Oz Speaks

LF

Much of the mystique of UFC co-owners Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta stems from the fact that we don’t see them cursing and making outlandish statements every day like their president and public face. Not that Lorenzo Fertitta’s statements are any less outlandish, but when he shows up to the occasional press conference or does the rare interview, we tend to pay a little more attention; clearly, the man has decided to speak because he has something important to say. In this interview with Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports, Lorenzo — ranked 380th on Forbes Magazine’s most recent list of the 400 richest Americans, with an estimated fortune of $1.3 billion — discusses the state of the UFC’s business and whether Dana White ever embarrasses him with his big mouth. We’ve gone and excerpted the best parts below.

On MMA being the country’s “fastest growing sport”: “A lot of people talk about the growth of MMA. I don’t believe in that. I don’t know where anybody can show me there is this great success in MMA outside of the UFC. There has been explosive growth for the UFC, but MMA in general, nobody is making a breakthrough. The biggest non-UFC pay-per-view, you might know better than me, but it’s something like 25,000, maybe 30,000 buys. There is a bit of a misnomer there. It’s not the growth of MMA. It’s the growth of the UFC.”

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