WWE, UFC star Brock Lesnar headlines 2K17 cover
Brock Lesnar has put Suplex City on the 2K17 map. Lesnar, the former WWE and UFC heavyweight champion, was selected Monday as the cover superstar for the WWE 2K17 video game that is set for an Oct. 11 release.
Lesnar recently created a stir when he announced his return to mixed martial arts after a nearly five-year absence for his comeback fight against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Win or lose inside the octagon, Lesnar will still appear for WWE in August at SummerSlam.
Lesnar will then snap his famous suplexes - which earned the Suplex City catchphrase - inside a virtual wrestling ring as a playable character for the 2K17 video game that boasts a roster of modern stars and former greats such as former WCW champion Bill Goldberg.
''My career has been defined by dominating every opportunity presented to me,'' Lesnar said. ''I am excited for my newest opportunity representing WWE 2K17 as the franchise's ambassador and honored to serve as the WWE 2K17 cover superstar.''
Lesnar, also a former NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling champion, can put down the video game controls for a few weeks.
He's training for his UFC return, a fight that seemed implausible last year when he ruled out an MMA comeback and signed a three-year deal with WWE. WWE granted Lesnar ''a one-off opportunity'' to fight on the July 9 card against Hunt in UFC's milestone event. Lesnar successfully defended the UFC heavyweight championship against Frank Mir at UFC 100 in July 2009 and hasn't fought since he lost to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 in December 2011.
Lesnar is one of the biggest pay-per-view stars in UFC history, setting records for the promotion during his eight-fight MMA career between stints as a professional wrestler. Although the UFC doesn't disclose the financial results of its pay-per-view shows, UFC President Dana White has said Lesnar is the biggest PPV draw in MMA history.
Lesnar, who turns 39 three days after his July 9 bout, had the final years of his MMA career seriously hampered by diverticulitis, which eventually required surgery. He returned to WWE in 2012.
Healthy and hungry for one more shot in the cage, Lesnar took a sabbatical from sports entertainment - he hasn't performed since WrestleMania 32 on April 3 - and devoted his full preparation toward Hunt.
Lesnar (5-3) accepted a formidable test in the 42-year-old Hunt (12-10-1), who has stopped his last two opponents with first-round knockouts.
Lesnar stopped Randy Couture in his fourth fight and won the UFC heavyweight title in November 2008. He defended it twice, but lost the belt to Cain Velasquez in 2010. Lesnar had major surgery several months later to remove a 12-inch section of his colon damaged by diverticulitis.
Paul Heyman, a close friend of Lesnar and his on-screen associate with WWE, said a rare tinge of regret motivated the fighter known as ''The Beast Incarnate'' to return to the cage.
''The moment he announced his retirement from mixed martial arts, I think he regretted it,'' Heyman said. ''I think he regretted the fact that, for the first time in his life, in perfect health he never had the chance to compete. It was the one decision in his life he was ever second-guessing.''
Lesnar held the WWE championship even as he worked an abbreviated schedule for Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire. The WWE did advertise Lesnar's UFC return on its website, though it has made little mention of the fight on the WWE Network or cable TV flagship shows ''Raw'' and ''Smackdown.''
He is slated to appear on the SummerSlam card Aug. 21 at Barclays Center in New York.
''When you're at Brock Lesnar's level of being a box office attraction, everything effects what you're going to be doing at your next appearance because anything can throw you off course,'' Heyman said. ''The result of this fight, how it will affect SummerSlam, hopefully it will make Brock Lesnar even a bigger star on a global basis and drive a whole bunch of fans back to WWE or over to WWE.''
WWE 2K17 will be available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4 and PS3 systems.
''Brock Lesnar's unmistakable talent, no-holds-barred mentality and unequivocal determination perfectly complement 2K's commitment to authentically represent WWE at the absolute highest level,'' said Chris Snyder, vice president of marketing at 2K.
Goldberg and playable WCW ''Monday Nitro'' and Halloween Havoc arenas are available as a 2K17 pre-order, and John Cena, Sasha Banks and WWE Hall of Famer Ultimate Warrior also will be a part of the game.
The game in the popular series is not yet rated.