Brock Lesnar still faces a few hurdles before he can set foot in the Octagon to challenge dual-division champion Daniel Cormier for the UFC heavyweight championship.
Cormier, after taking the heavyweight belt from Stipe Miocic at UFC 226, called out Lesnar, who was in attendance. The WWE Universal Champion immediately entered the cage, shoved Cormier, and derided the entirety of the UFC heavyweight division in announcing his return to the Octagon.
Though UFC president Dana White confirmed that Lesnar is expected to be Cormier’s first UFC heavyweight title defense, but there are still a few hurdles to clear.
For one, Lesnar remains under suspension by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for testing positive to a banned substance stemming from his UFC 200 bout with Mark Hunt. Lesnar initially defeated Hunt, but that was later changed to a no-contest after he was found to have had clomiphene in his system. Instead of fulfilling his USADA imposed suspension for violating the UFC’s Anti-Doping Policy, Lesnar retired. That caused USADA to put a freeze on his suspension and he now has to fulfill that suspension before he can fight again.
USADA recently announced that Lesnar had re-entered its testing pool and, barring any failed tests, could be clear of his suspension in January of 2019.
USADA isn’t the only administrative agency that Lesnar must clear the air with, however. Since UFC 200 took place in Las Vegas, Lesnar was also subject to Nevada State Athletic Commission sanctioning.
Though he is clear of the one-year Nevada suspension, Lesnar was also fined 10-percent of his $2.5 million disclosed purse, which equates to $250,000. He has never paid the fine, nor has he made any arrangements with Nevada to do so.
As such, Lesnar is currently under an indefinite suspension with Nevada. He has to pay the money back before he can fight in Nevada again. If he doesn’t clear up his status in Nevada, other commissions could also consider the situation when determining whether or not to license Lesnar to fight in their jurisdictions.
“(Lesnar) is still suspended based on his fine,” NSAC executive director Bob Bennett told MMAWeekly.com on Thursday. “He is required to pay the fine or set up a payment plan with the Attorney General’s Office.”
While it is one more element that could complicate matters, realistically, it wouldn’t. If Lesnar is able to clear the USADA hurdle, which is much higher, and remain clean in his drug testing for six months and around the time of the potential fight, he would surely, at minimum, arrange a payment plan with Nevada, as he stands to make millions from a fight with Cormier.