Plenty of people seem upset about Brock Lesnar after UFC 87. Maybe it’s because of his antics at the end of the fight. Maybe it’s because of his post-fight remarks. Maybe it’s because he won, or because everything about him reminds you of the guy who put you upside down in that trash can back in high school. We all have our reasons, is what I’m saying, even if they may be bad ones.
I’ll admit that I didn’t get a whole lot of joy out of watching Lesnar control Herring on the mat for three rounds. It wasn’t exactly a thrilling bout, athletically speaking, and his ‘ride-em cowboy’ routine was the kind of thing I hate about pro sports. But at a time when the UFC’s heavyweight division suffers from a general dearth of talent and interesting potential matchups, hate-ability may be just what we need right now.
What we have in Lesnar is the type of guy who various martial arts were created in order to protect against. He’s big, strong, fast, and aggressive. He’s all natural ability, and not so much technique at this point. His personality is abrasive, to put it mildly — the kind of guy you run into at a bar and think, ‘I’d kick your ass, if only you weren’t so big.’ What’s more, he seems to really enjoy being that guy.
After his display following the victory over Herring prompted some anger from MMA fans, Lesnar responded:
“That was just me. I was just excited. That was for Heath’s camp. I had the last laugh and the last words to say. I might’ve went a little overboard. If I offended anybody then I’m sorry…uh, not really!”
What’s not to love?
Lesnar is the typical pro wrestling heel, only he makes it seem like a genuine personality type and not just a character. He manages to be unlikable in victory, and even when he says something that would be humble coming out of GSP’s mouth, Lesnar sounds almost sarcastic.
These are natural gifts, much like his physical ones. He is the perfect bad guy, tailor made for a sport where people will pay extra to see someone they hate if there’s a reasonable chance he may get beat up. So why aren’t we happier to see him?
The irony is that when the UFC announced they’d be putting Frank Mir against Antonio Rodgrigo Nogueira for the UFC heavyweight title after the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” people complained that the match-up had no heat. Both guys were boring, they said. What fun will this be?
Now just try and imagine a scenario where Brock Lesnar is in a fight with anybody and there’s a lack of animosity.
We should be grateful for that. If he were just a cocky jerk with no skills, it would be different. But Lesnar is downright scary. Something about watching him against Herring seemed almost unfair, and Herring is a veteran of the sport.
If you don’t like Lesnar, that’s fine. It probably means that something is working correctly in your brain. But be honest, you don’t really want to see him disappear from the UFC. He’s too much fun, and a little fun is just what the heavyweight division needs right now.