Brock Lesnar abruptly retired from mixed martial arts competition the other day, and the news shocked the sports world. UFC president Dana White announced that Lesnar had contacted him and told him he was done with the sport. Now we have a better grasp of the reasons for this about-face from Lesnar.
Lesnar had a certain price he wanted guaranteed to do the Cormier fight. UFC, which, with its ESPN deal where the PPV money is guaranteed, didn’t meet the offer. Lesnar had a certain price he wanted that was worth it to him to go through a hard training camp at 42 and then get into the cage with an all-time great fighter and athlete in Cormier. Plus, WWE has continued to offer Lesnar strong deals for limited dates, and on a Lesnar schedule, pro wrestling is far safer and offers considerably more longevity.
Lesnar had been ticketed for a blockbuster showdown with UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at some point, but that is obviously off now. Instead, it appears Cormier will defend his belt in a rematch against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241.
Lesnar’s retirement means he finishes his career with a 5-3 record, with one no-contest. He hasn’t won a fight in the octagon since he defeated Shane Carwin in 2010. He last battled Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in 2016. Lesnar won that fight by unanimous decision before the result was overturned thanks to a positive PED test.
Lesnar was obviously negotiating from a place of strength. If the UFC wouldn’t match his price, he could always return to the WWE on a limited schedule. The training also isn’t as arduous in the WWE as it would be for a full fight training camp.