When Muhammed ‘King Mo’ Lawal signed his recent deal to compete in both MMA under the Bellator Fighting Championships banner as well as a contract to perform in TNA pro wrestling, it was the first of its kind in the industry.
Some fighters in the past have dabbled in pro wrestling while still actively fighting in mixed martial arts, but this was the first time when a deal was so clearly defined around someone openly doing both full time.
When former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar popped up at UFC 146 on Saturday night, it left a lot of people wondering if the one-time title holder was considering a return to fighting after a 5 month hiatus from the sport.
Lesnar exited the UFC after a loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 last December, and has since returned to the WWE as a professional wrestler, the same job he held prior to his days as a champion in the cage.
UFC President Dana White said ‘possibly, yeah’ when asked if Lesnar was considering a comeback to fighting, but it’s been well documented that he signed a 1-year deal to compete in WWE after he left the UFC.
But there’s no way the UFC or more specifically Dana White would ever re-sign Lesnar knowing he’s also going to be competing in the WWE? Or would he?
“I think people get it now with Brock. Brock is a huge WWE star and a huge UFC star. He is accomplished at both,” White told reporters after UFC 146 ended on Saturday. “Will King Mo be that guy? I don’t know. I think it takes a very special person to do wrestling and to be able to do MMA.”
For years, White along with many other people involved with the sport believed a ‘crossover’ athlete could blur the lines between what’s fake and what’s reality. WWE and other professional wrestling organizations are very athletic in nature, but at the end of the day they are scripted shows.
Mixed martial arts is reality where the outcome is determined only by who is the better fighter on any given night.
But as MMA continues to grow there seems to be a more definite line drawn that would let anybody know that one is real and one is scripted drama.
UFC heavyweight Roy Nelson, who has openly campaigned for a shot in professional wrestling once his fighting days are over. Actually if he had the chance, Nelson would probably love the chance to do both at once, but he says there’s no way that anyone is going to be confused as to which was is real and which one is fake.
“Does it blur the line? If you’re a (expletive). Have you seen baseball? Have you seen softball? That’s a lot closer than MMA and wrestling. If you’re confused about baseball and softball then you might want to go to one of those special teachers and go yeah I’m diagnosed as a (expletive),” Nelson stated.
It always seemed extremely unlikely that Dana White would ever let one of his fighters compete in the Octagon while simultaneously working in the squared circle for the WWE or any other professional wrestling organization, but has he changed his mind?
“I don’t know, we’ve got to talk and see what’s going on. Well, he went back to the WWE it’s no secret. Big people get it, there’s nothing fake going on over here. It’s real. I don’t know we’ll see,” White said.
That’s obviously not a guarantee one way or the other from White, but it’s also not a flat out denial that it could be a possibility.
Could Brock Lesnar be on WWE Monday Night Raw one night and fight in the UFC the following weekend? It’s just a matter of time to see if that actually comes true or not.