Vince, you can take this belt and stick it!
The UFC used a WWE angle to build up the next heavyweight championship fight. After winning the main event of UFC 226 and becoming the heavyweight champion, Daniel Cormier thought he was all clear to ride away into the sunset. He predicted his win, predicted he would defend once more, and call it a career. He was halfway there. Little did he know that he had just opened a new chapter.
Cormier won the UFC heavyweight championship in spectacular fashion by knocking out Stipe Miocic. Cormier was already the light-heavyweight champion going into the main event of UFC 226 and now is the first dual champion at the two weight classes. Cormier displayed championship prowess in winning the match, and some are calling him the greatest fighter of all time. One man, however, is not. That man is former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is currently the WWE Universal Champion and has at least one more date on his current contract. Nonetheless, this didn’t stop Lesnar from entering the Octagon and confronting Cormier after his win. Lesnar was shown in the front row during the match, but no one was quite sure why. Everyone found out together as the pay-per-view came to a close. During Cormier’s post-fight speech, Lesnar entered the cage and took the microphone, and issued a challenge to Cormier calling the UFC heavyweight division weak and pathetic. Cormier took the bait and jawed back at him, saying that Lesnar was old news, a thing of the past and that he wasn’t in his league as an athlete.
While all of that is good for business if you’re the UFC, maybe not so much for WWE. Perception is the reality, and many have perceived Lesnar’s confrontation as a virtual dropping of the WWE Universal title in the garbage. Lesnar’s last UFC fight was against Mark Hunt at UFC 200. He won that match, but subsequently failed a drug test for performance enhancers, earning him a two-year suspension. Lesnar didn’t seem to care as he simply “retired” and went to WWE where he immediately won their most prestigious championship.
When a fighter fails a drug test, a suspension is given. In the case of retirement, the suspension sits on the shelf as well. In reality, Lesnar has not served his sentence. However, UFC has a way of skirting the rules. All that is necessary for Lesnar to compete once again in the UFC is to subject himself to the USADA drug testing system for 6 months, meaning he would be eligible to fight 6 months from the date he re-entered the pool (assuming he doesn’t fail a test). In this case, that means he’s eligible to fight as soon as January of 2019.
Lesnar walking away from WWE as the Universal Champion is a slap in the face to the world of sports entertainment. Lesnar was supposed to be the guy, and for a while he was. However, as weeks turned into months without the WWE Universal Champion around on Raw or even defending his championship on pay-per-view, fans grew tired of Lesnar’s apathy. They let him know how they felt at this past year’s Wrestlemania in New Orleans where Lesnar won the main event by defeating Roman Reigns amongst a chorus of fans booing loudly. Many have pointed to that moment as the tipping point for Lesnar no longer wanting to be a part of the fickle WWE universe. Lesnar refused to re-sign a long-term contract with WWE, and instead signed a short-term extension through Summer Slam.
While Lesnar didn’t physically drop the title in the trash, he may as well have, as his presence in the UFC immediately diminished the reputation of the WWE universal title. Lesnar, one of the most well known professional wrestlers and fighters in the world, simply said, this title sucks and means nothing to me. That is a huge statement, one that is akin to dropping the title in the trash on the opposition’s TV show.