What if Brock Lesnar Loses at UFC 200?
CNet – Brock Lesnar. There’s three things you need to know about him: He’s an extreme genetic outlier, he’s one of the UFC’s biggest ever box office draws and he currently wrestles exclusively for the WWE.
On Sunday at UFC 199 in California, it was revealed that the WWE had agreed to aspecial “one off” deal allowing Lesnar to return to the octagon to fight at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas. Today on ESPN, we found out that he’ll be facing Mark Hunt, a 42-year-old fighter with a 12-10 record.
This will undoubtedly do big business for the mixed martial arts company, but could be bad news for the WWE.
One of the pro wrestling company’s biggest revenue sources is its WWE Network. Think of it like the wrestling world’s Netflix. It costs $9.99 a month, and features on-demand documentaries and an archive of thousands of past shows. Most importantly, WWE runs special live events each month which used to be exclusive to pay-per-views. These are now also shown on the WWE Network at no additional cost.
These special events are what the company uses to entice new users to subscribe to the Network. And who does the WWE use to sell their biggest events? That’s right, Brock Lesnar.
On paper it makes sense. UFC needed an extra draw for UFC 200, which lost star fighter Conor McGregor to a managerial dispute, and in turn a triumphant return for Lesnar to the UFC would make him a bigger star heading into August’s Summerslam — the WWE Network’s second biggest show of the year.
For the uninitiated, the UFC is where mixed martial artists get in a cage and fight for real. WWE is a different animal, where athletes simulate a fight to tell (ideally) dramatic stories in the ring.
The success of both industries is largely star-driven, and Lesnar is one of pro wrestling’s biggest stars. In the world of WWE, he’s portrayed as a killer. His character is presented as an unbeatable force of nature, having not been pinned (scripted to lose a match by pinfall) in over three years.
He’s portrayed like that because he’s got the credentials to back it up. He’s a legitimate prize fighter, beating MMA legend Randy Couture in 2008 to win the UFC heavyweight championship and going on to headline 2009’s UFC 100, which still holds the record for most-bought UFC pay-per-view ever.
Thanks to that resume, the WWE deems Lesnar extremely valuable, paying him an exorbitant amount.Forbes reported that he earned $6 million last year for wrestling just five matches.
The million dollar question in Brock Lesnar’s sudden return to UFC is without a doubt, what’s in it for WWE? You have to figure they’re getting something pretty huge in return (perhaps Rhonda Rousey?). You know this because the risk of Lesnar returning to the Octagon are huge. There are the obvious risks like what if he gets seriously injured, but there’s one more important than that. What if Brock loses? What if he goes in there and gets knocked out in 45 seconds? WWE is paying this guy $6 million to be the unstoppable Beast Incarnate. What the hell are they going to do if he not only loses but loses in an embarrassing fashion? The ending of The Streak, the dominant Championship run, all the time, money and energy spent in this guy gets damaged big time. That’s what leads me to believe that WWE is getting something monumental back in return, unless they are just really, really dumb…which I doubt.