Saskatchewan’s newest resident Brock Lesnar wins UFC 200
This is a bit off topic, but since local coverage has been poor, here’s a bunch on Saskatchewan’s newest resident (near the town of Maryfield) – Brock Lesnar – winning at UFC 200!
Posts win interview is here
Brock Lesnar explains the ‘simple’ reason why he’s representing Canada at UFC 200
Jul 9, 2016, 4:00p
On Wednesday at the pre-fight press conference, Lesnar explained succinctly why he was choosing to wear the gear of the country in which he lives now rather than the one in which he was born, the United States.
“Quite simple: I live there,” Lesnar said with a laugh. “That’s how simple it is.”
“The Beast” is now a resident of Saskatchewan, which he said previously he chose because of his ability to hunt and fish there. Lesnar is a country boy to the core and he’s raising his three children on a farm. The crossover WWE star is all about teaching his kids about an honest day of work.
A few years ago, Lesnar blasted Canada for its healthcare system when he fell ill with diverticulitis in the country.
“They couldn’t do nothing for me,” Lesnar said in 2010. “It was like I was in a third-world country. … I’m just stating the facts here, and that’s the facts. If I had to choose between getting care in Canada or in the United States, I definitely want to be in the United States.”
Lesnar (5-3), who was born in South Dakota and spent many years in Minnesota, has obviously changed his tune. Back in the UFC for the first time in nearly five years, he was holding up the Canadian flag during photo shoots this week in Vegas.
Of course, he didn’t want to get into the politics of his decision to rep Canada.
“I won’t get into that,” Lesnar said. “Keep it simple.”
Brock Lesnar defeats Mark Hunt via unanimous decision in UFC return
Former UFC heavyweight champion and WWE superstar Brock heds light on his comeback fight with Mark Hunt and his future career in the Octagon. (0:58)
12:32 PM CT
Brett OkamotoESPN Staff Writer
Nearly five years removed from his last bout, Lesnar (6-3), a former UFC heavyweight champion, made a successful return to the Octagon on Saturday, defeating Mark Hunt via unanimous decision. The three-round fight co-headlined UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena.
“Oh, man, it took me a little while to get acclimated,” Lesnar said. “Words can’t describe it. Thank you, everybody. Thanks so much.”
Lesnar, 38, stuck to his strengths against Hunt, who was ranked No. 7 in the world by ESPN ahead of the weekend and fought for the interim UFC title in late 2014. The WWE star alternated between keeping a safe, long distance from Hunt and shooting takedowns.
When Lesnar was able to get Hunt down, which he did in the first and third rounds, it was smooth sailing. His massive size and wrestling ability looked as dominant as during his peak in mixed martial arts, when he won and defended the heavyweight title between 2008 and 2010.
Former UFC heavyweight champion and WWE star Brock Lesnar, left, alternated between keeping a safe, long distance from Mark Hunt and shooting takedowns en route to a unanimous decision victory. Joshua Dahl/USA TODAY Sports
All things considered, it was a relatively smooth return to the Octagon for Lesnar. Hunt managed to land a few punches, but Lesnar was able to keep the pressure and keep Hunt on the mat.
Ground It Out
Brock Lesnar really did his work on the ground, recording 43 significant ground strikes. His opponent Mark Hunt had only two.
Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Hunt
|Significant ground strikes||43||2|
|— ESPN Stats & Information|
“People don’t realize, for a guy who only fought a few times in this sport, then goes away for as long as he has, his age and everything — to come back and do what he did tonight is pretty impressive,” UFC president Dana White said on SportsCenter after Saturday’s card. “He’s a freak of nature.”
UFC announced Lesnar’s return to the Octagon in June, a little more than one month before UFC 200. He remains under contract with WWE and is scheduled to appear at SummerSlam in August. Lesnar, who resides in Maryfield, Saskatchewan, declined to say whether he will fight in UFC again.
“One day at a time,” he said. “I’m so happy to be in here.”
White said afterward that Saturday’s fight was a one-time deal because of Lesnar’s contract with WWE but added, “That doesn’t mean we couldn’t do something again in the future.”
Wrestlemania headliner Brock Lesnar is a true athlete
He’s won an NCAA wrestling title, a UFC championship and impressed in NFL training camp, so why doesn’t Brock Lesnar get more credit as a sportsman?
Brock Lesnar’s win at UFC 100 was the biggest pay-per-view in organization history with 1.6m buys.
Friday 27 March 201518.41 GMT
Last modified on Monday 4 April 201614.27 BST
Brock Lesnar was going for a heavyweight championship, and he was in a bit of trouble.
Lesnar had taken a 2-0 lead at the 2000 NCAA wrestling championships, but Wes Hand had tied the match on two stalling points handed out by the referee. If there were ropes in collegiate wrestling, Lesnar would have been on them. Hand dominated the first overtime, but Lesnar – who the announcers called “Lez-naar”on ESPN’s broadcast – held on for a second overtime. Lesnar won the coin toss, chose the down position and escaped with nine seconds left to win the point and the championship.
After the match, ESPN’s broadcast interviewed Lesnar. “I knew it’d be close,” he said. “I didn’t want to make it that close. I didn’t want none of that. I wanted to get the first takedown. But I’ll take the win. I’m so happy. I worked hard, Wes is a competitor, I’ve enjoyed wrestling Wes, but I know I deserve it more than he did.”
ESPN’s ringside reporter, the late Jeff Blatnick, then wished Lesnar well and gave him this farewell: “Good luck with the choices after this season.”
The choices. Brock Lesnar may have entered professional wrestling with the nickname The Next Big Thing, but that was only telling people what they already knew. This man was destined for stardom. Even in college, he looked like he could legitimately beat up any other person on the planet. People called himRobocop or Terminator. He was more like a combination of the two; Lesnar looked like a teenaged, midwest Arnold Schwarzenegger. He went 33-0 as a senior in high school. “He brought the level of heavyweight wrestling in the United States to a new level,” high school coach John Schiley said. He went 56-3 at Bismarck Junior College. After transferring, he went 50-2 at Minnesota. Gophers fans wore ‘BROCKFAST OF CHAMPIONS’ T-shirts.
So he had those choices. Rumors swirled that the then-World WrestlingFederation was interested. Minnesota football coach Glen Mason wanted him to play defensive line. Lesnar said he wanted to attempt to qualify for the 2000 Olympics, then finish his business degree at Minnesota.
Lesnar had choices again recently. He’s worked a limited schedule since returning to WWE – the organization changed its name in 2002 – and now his contract was coming to a close. According to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer newsletter, his final date was to be the day after Sunday’s WrestleMania – on WWE’s weekly Raw telecast. Rumors rumbled through social media. Meltzer reported Lesnar walked out on the 23 February episode of Raw (it airs live) and that WWE officials were preparing as if he were leaving post-Mania. He then appeared at UFC 184 with Dana White; the UFC was planning to run its first-ever event in New York City headlined by a Brock Lesnar/Frank Mir rematch. Paul Heyman, Lesnar’s storyline representative in WWE, even pulled it into the narrative: “If Brock Lesnar wants to spend his summer unifying the WWE and the UFC title, that’s what he’s going to do.”
Earlier this week, Lesnar made his decision. He was retiring from MMA and had re-signed with the WWE. His championship match with Roman Reigns at Sunday’s WrestleMania would not be his final one in the company.
“It was a very hard decision at this stage of my career,” Lesnar told reporters. “The fighter inside me wants to compete. The father and husband – I’m an older caveman now. I make wiser caveman decisions. So, I’m here to say my legacy in the octagon is over.” He said he turned down an offer worth “10 times” what he’d made in UFC earlier in his career.
Lesnar, though, had been pragmatic before. At a 2000 welcome-home event at his high school in Webster, South Dakota, Lesnar said he’d be signing with the WWF. “It’s in my mind but not in my heart,” Lesnar told well-wishers. “You know that when you start wrestling that there isn’t anything besides the Olympics after college where you can go and excel.”
It was a different time. The Olympics didn’t offer anything but a once-or-twice shot at greatness. UFC was not yet popular enough to deliver a massive payday. Lesnar hadn’t played football since high school. WWF was coming off one of its most popular, profitable stretches in history and could offer money and stardom. It was a sensible choice.
Lesnar excelled at his new career: Given Heyman – a manager and promoter who had booked the innovative Extreme Championship Wrestling promotion in Philadelphia – Lesnar quickly rose through the ranks. He had the look. He had the mouthpiece. “He worked hard to learn his craft pro wrestling,” the Pro Wrestling Torch’s Wade Keller wrote, “but he was also a quick study in that he became a very good worker at a young age, able to carry his end of top-notch main events quicker than most of his colleagues with similar experience.” At 25, he became the youngest champion in promotion history when he beat The Rock at SummerSlam five months after his debut. “Who in the hell will be able to stop The Next Big Thing,” announcer Tazz said after the match.
As it turns out, The Next Big Thing stopped himself. Per the Torch, Lesnar was “complaining that as a small town farm boy, he wasn’t used to so much travel.” Despite having an entire television show – SmackDown, then on UPN – built around him, he bolted the company in 2004 to try out for the NFL.
Thus began his career as a professional athlete. It was shortened by circumstances largely beyond Lesnar’s control: He didn’t make the Vikings partly because he had been out of football too long, and a battle with diverticulitis hit him in the prime of his UFC career. It’s a shame, because the man remains an incredible athlete.
Take his attempt at an NFL career. “I’m not stupid. I know the NFL is a difficult world to crack,” Lesnar said. “But I’ll play defensive line to left out. I’m fighting every fucking play. I can fight for real … If it was legal and I wouldn’t get in trouble, I’d pick a fight on every street. If I wouldn’t lose any money or nothing, I would fight. I’d fight every day.” It seemed like a wild idea, but others who hadn’t played college football had tried out and made NFL teams. Stephen Neal, whoLesnar lost to in the 1999 NCAA championship final, won three Super Bowls with the Patriots.
That agility and quickness he showed as a heavyweight carried over to his NFL tryout with the Vikings. He had an incredible worth ethic, too, and didn’t get into much trouble aside from a scuffle in a scrimmage against Kansas City. “We didn’t think he’d be able to pick it up so quickly,” then-Vikings coach Mike Tice told reporters after releasing Lesnar in the first round of cuts. “He showed us that he was going to have the right work ethic and the right attention to detail.” Tice said Lesnar – who wore No69 and made one tackle in one Vikings preseason game – gave him a hug after he was cut.
“I definitely was upset at first, but the thing about Brock is he flat-out earned my respect the past four weeks,” Vikings defensive line coach Brian Baker said. “I don’t know how else to put it. … You could pick 1,000 guys in his situation and not one of them would have lasted this long.” Baker thought adding Lesnar to the training camp roster was a joke, a publicity stunt. But in just four weeks of practice, Lesnar managed to earn the respect of his teammates and coaches. He got it. “Brock didn’t come in here thinking he was a big shot,” Vikings center Matt Birk said. “He took it seriously and kept his mouth shut.”
Once thought to have a chance at making the practice squad, Lesnar eventually decided against pursuing the football career. After legal wrangling with WWE over a non-compete clause, Lesnar made a move into mixed martial arts.
His career there is better known. After dropping his first UFC fight to Frank Mir, he won his next two – including a second-round TKO over Randy Couture that won him the UFC heavyweight championship. He was just 2-1 in UFC, yet he was world champion. At UFC 100 in 2009, he avenged his loss to Mir at a pay-per-view that had the largest buyrate in UFC history: 1.6 million. Only high-profile boxing events have done more buys. (After his win, Lesnar flipped off the crowd. “I’m gonna go home tonight, I’m going to drink a Coors Light … because Bud Light won’t pay me nothing,” Lesnar said in the octagon. “I’m going to sit down with my friends and family … and, hell, I might even get on top of my wife tonight.” Think how much fun he would have been in the NFL!)
Things were never really the same after that fight, though. He collapsed while on vacation in Canada and ended up needing surgery in 2009 and 2011. The second surgery removed a foot-long portion of his colon. He lost his final two fights to Cain Velasquez (in 2010) and Alistair Overeem (in 2011) in the first round.
Now, he’s just a pro wrestler. Lesnar is incredibly good at that, too. WWE wasn’t sure what to do with him when he returned in 2012, but in the last year he has produced several memorable moments. At last year’s WrestleMania, Lesnar defeated the Undertaker – breaking the 21-0 streak that was the scripted sport’s one true record. It was probably the most shocking wrestling moment in many fans’ lives. He defeated John Cena at SummerSlam in August, winning the title in a memorable one-sided title match. And at the Royal Rumble in January, Lesnar defeated Cena and Seth Rollins for the title in one of the best WWE matches in years. The Rumble title match was an intricate story with very few slip-ups. Heplaced 12th on The Wrestling Blog’s top-100 wrestler list despite wrestling in just four matches.
That’s all well and good. Lesnar is happy. Wrestling fans are happy. Even the UFC’s Dana White says he is happy: “From what I understand Vince [McMahon, WWE’s owner,] made him a deal that he couldn’t refuse, which is awesome.” Such a great athlete – such a unique athlete – will no longer compete in organized sports. When he fights Reigns on Sunday, he’ll be a scripted entertainer. His run as a pro athlete was a brief flash of light. It’s a shame we didn’t get to see him try it longer.