Dana White reacts to former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar's decision to stay with the WWE over a return to mixed martial arts.
BOSTON – Brock Lesnar unveiled a new move to his repertoire on Tuesday. While not nearly as flashy as his German suplex, his business acumen helped secure a very lucrative contract.
Lesnar re-signed with Vince McMahon’s WWE, ending rampant speculation he was returning to the world of mixed martial arts. UFC president Dana White was in Boston Thursday night for the UFC 189 world press tour, and admitted he knew Lesnar was not returning to the Octagon.
“I’m happy for him,” said White. “This isn’t one of those sports where you can say, ‘I’m not sure which way I want to go,’ so I think he made the right decision. Vince took very good care of him. I think it’s great for Brock, it’s great for his family, and it’s good for Vince. It’s good for all of them.”
Lesnar and White were spotted together just a few weeks ago, on Feb. 28, at UFC 184, but Lesnar simply used the UFC as a leverage point in his negotiations with the WWE.
“He was thinking about coming back, but this isn’t a sport where you think about coming back,” said White. “When we were out there earlier for the press conference [headlined by UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor], you can see the look these guys have in their eyes and their intensity. That’s how you have to be, to be in this sport. You’ve got to be in and you’ve got to be invested, and, at the end of the day, it’s a young man’s sport.
“Brock Lesnar came to the UFC and achieved something nobody thought he would do. He won the heavyweight title. Brock Lesnar has nothing else to prove here.”
UFC fighters, White acknowledged, help legitimize the WWE product, while wrestlers bring a devoted fan base when crossing over into fighting.
“I don’t think Vince [McMahon] is too crazy about sharing anybody with anybody, but it is what it is,” said White. “I think it’s great for both of us.”
White touched on other Octagon-related topics, including the progress of CM Punk.
“CM Punk is training with a great camp,” he said. “He’s with ‘Duke’ Roufus, Anthony Pettis, and his whole team. I think he made the right choice there. This is a guy who has some jiu-jitsu and is getting into fighting, but it’s going to take some time.”
Unfortunately for Punk fans, a date for his first fight has yet to be announced.
“He has all the time he needs,” White continued. “When he’s ready, he’ll let us know and we’ll make a fight for him. It’s up to him and his progress.”
“There is no one who can beat her,” he said. “She’s psychotically competitive. She is incredibly talented, and is the greatest athlete I’ve ever worked with.
“But the thing about this sport is every dog has his day. Someone always has an off-day, so I’m not saying that Ronda Rousey couldn’t be caught with a punch, because anybody can.”
Excitement and passion oozed from White as he discussed the Aldo-McGregor clash that is scheduled for this July 11 in Las Vegas at UFC 189.
“The one thing that I love, if you’re a fight fan, is when you have two absolute bad asses in the prime of their careers,” he said. “There’s no better thing in the business than that.”
As for WrestleMania this Sunday, White would not offer any predictions on whether Lesnar will retain his championship.
“I don’t know,” said White. “Someone knows, but not me.”