Reclusive Lesnar returns to coach on TUF
Former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar's return to the ring comes in the form of coaching season 13 of 'The Ultimate Fighter'.
Lesnar isn’t crazy about spending the next six weeks in Las Vegas, but on his second day on the job as a coach, he conceded it sure beat being home in Alexandria, Minnesota, where temperatures, to be conservative, remained frigid.
“It’s 30 below in Alexandria right now,” Lesnar said Tuesday at the TUF 13 media day at the UFC Training Center, where it was a positively balmy 65 degrees. “I’d had enough of it.”
Las Vegas isn’t Lesnar’s kind of town, and Lesnar isn’t the type to be away from his family for long stretches, but the former heavyweight champion said his decision to accept UFC president Dana White’s offer to coach opposite Junior dos Santos has a simple explanation.
Asked how White talked him into accepting the post, Lesnar grinned wryly and said: “Benjamins.”
When White first asked, Lesnar’s response was predictable.
“No,” Lesnar said, pausing for effect before adding: “Like I always say.”
White, though, made it worth Lesnar’s while financially and agreed to rent a house so that Lesnar could bring his wife, Rena, sons Turk and Duke and stepdaughter Mariah, to Las Vegas with him.
Professionally, it turned out to be a boon, because he gets to fight dos Santos in the summer in Vancouver, British Columbia, after the series airs, for the right to meet heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez when Velasquez returns to competition after undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
There was never any question about Lesnar’s desire to get back at it, even though the internet was swirling with rumours saying he no longer had the heart to fight.
He dispelled two of the most prevalent rumours on Tuesday. He said he had no interest in appearing at WrestleMania, a rumour that was fuelled by a staredown with WWE star 'The Undertaker', only seconds after Lesnar walked out of the cage following his loss to Velasquez. Lesnar gave Undertaker a dirty look, and Undertaker said, “Do you want to do this?” That prompted a raft of speculation that Lesnar was returning to the WWE, where he had originally become famous.
“That thing just took on a life of its own,” Lesnar said of the WrestleMania rumours. “I’m a fighter. There wasn’t anything there. I never pursued anything, no.”
He also scoffed at the notion that he was through fighting and didn’t have the stomach for it any more.
Lesnar hardly watches any television and is on the Internet even less, so he wasn’t personally aware of the abundant rumours. But as he lived his life, he’d hear many stories about what he was doing from friends, acquaintances and just people who bumped into him at the gas station.
It wasn’t much different than what Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler is going through. The NFC championship game was still being played when the Internet was filled with speculation that Cutler had quit on his team.
No one had bothered so much as to ask Cutler and/or the Bears coaches about the decision to pull him early in the third quarter of their 21-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Lesnar faced similar scrutiny after he was dominated by Velasquez.
“When I go dark, people have to talk about something,” Lesnar said. “I don’t have any control over that, nor do I really care. I’m just glad they’re still talking about me. It’s a funny thing. I go sit in my deer shack or my fish house and you guys (in the media) still talk about me and I don’t even have to say a word.”
Lesnar is a guy who values accountability and, because of the anonymity that the internet provides, posters on various forums and messages boards were free to speculate about his career and his plans without ever hearing from him.
A video that showed a reporter interviewing 'The Undertaker' after UFC 121 led to speculation that he wanted to quit fighting and return to the WWE as a professional wrestler.
It turns out, none of it is true. He said he never considered going to the WWE, pointing out, “I’m a fighter.” But that didn’t have any impact upon the rampant speculation.
“It’s just the internet, and it’s because of those things right there,” Lesnar said, pointing toward a laptop that was placed in front of him. “People can say anything they want and not have any credibility or nothing. It’s just the world we live in. I don’t (hear the talk). I don’t get caught up in any of those things.
“I bought a computer because I’m writing a book and I got on the Internet because it’s easier than sending 400 pages of faxes back and forth. … I don’t monkey around with any of that. If I’m going through my outdoors magazine and I see a product I’m interested in and I want to learn a little more about it, I go on and read about it. I don’t surf the web. I don’t look up my name and who’s talking about me. I can hear about it from my friends who do do that stuff.”
Lesnar is eager to fight dos Santos because he knows it will lead to a title shot. He said he is happy to be able to give back to the sport and, hopefully, help it by bringing more viewers to the show.
At the end of the day, though, it is about regaining the championship and coaching against dos Santos on TUF provides the most logical path for him.
“I have one thing in my mind for this whole thing, which is to help these kids and to improve their lives,” Lesnar said. “More importantly, it’s an opportunity for me to get down here and train and it’s an opportunity for me to get my title back sooner rather than later. When I beat dos Santos, then I get a rematch with Velasquez and I get my (expletive) belt back. That’s the way I’m looking at this.”