Now that Lesnar has returned to his old stomping grounds in professional wrestling, the haters are back out in full force.
Coming from a background in professional wrestling with the WWE prior to his mixed martial arts career, Lesnar had detractors from the first day that he put on a pair of MMA gloves.
The uproar grew to a fever-pitch when it was revealed that he would fight in the UFC. Most everyone thought he was being thrown to the wolves, UFC president Dana White among them.
“The guy came over here at thirty-whatever-years-old. When he came over here the guy was 1-0 in MMA and I was like, you’re crazy. You’re gonna get smashed over here, and he didn’t,” recounted White.
“We threw all the toughest guys at him, and he accomplished what he accomplished.”
White also respects something about Lesnar and his camp that is a rare commodity in the mixed martial arts world… secrecy.
The UFC doesn’t mind its fighters talking about their upcoming fights, promoting themselves and their sponsors; they just want it done in a certain manner. But somehow, it always seems that nearly every fight that anyone cares about leaks about to John Q. Public before UFC officials are ready.
That’s one thing that White says he never had to worry about with Lesnar.
“When he did the deal with the WWE, all the rumblings started with you guys. He never called me. He never told me. He didn’t have to. It was always up front and said in his deal, he could do the WWE,” said White.
“One of the things I love about Brock is, everything we did with that guy, nothing ever leaked out of that camp.”
Lesnar’s star in the world of MMA was perhaps of the shooting variety, fighting only eight times in his career. But having defeated the likes of Randy Couture, Frank Mir, and Shane Carwin, and capturing the UFC heavyweight title are no small feats.
He did lose back-to-back bouts to Cain Velasquez and Alistair Overeem, sending him packing out of the Octagon, but don’t every expect to hear White ever again join the chorus of those who discredit what Lesnar did, or his return home to the WWE.
“I’m happy for him. To do what he did in the WWE, came here and did what he did, now he’s back over there. Good for him; good for them.”