UFC 141: The Aftermath (of Lesnar)

Posted: January 5, 2012 in Marketing, PR, UFC

The Brock Lesnar reign over the UFC heavyweight division came to a close almost has quickly as it was ushered in.  After a first round defeat to Alistair Overeem, and only a brief four year career, “the baddest dude on the planet has hung up his gloves.

Some of you are probably confused by the opening of this post, but make no mistake – despite having lost his UFC gold in October of 2010, Lesnar was still the king of the heavyweight division.  No other athlete demanded the attention of fans, sponsors, opponents and the UFC brass the way “The Next Big Thing” could.

What is more disappointing about this retirement than the notion of not seeing Lesnar in the Octagon again is the inevitable wave of insults and criticism he will now receive. As I write this post I’m sure there are plenty of detractors that will argue that Lesnar was never a MMA fighter but a WWE star, a hoax in the cage.

This will not be one of those posts.  Lesnar brought to the UFC heavyweight division the attention and awe it had lost through boring title fights like Sylvia v Arlovski and Sylvia v Monson.  For years fans cringed at the idea of heavyweight fights.  With welterweights like Hughes & GSP, middleweights like Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva, and light heavyweights like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz – the MMA world NEEDED a personality in its biggest division to bring it back to life.

However, don’t confuse attention with gimmick.  Brock Lesnar was more than a marketing tool for the UFC.  He was an elite athlete who took on elite competition.  Lesnar was NEVER given an easy welcome fight or tune up match after his two bouts with diverticulitis.  From day 1 to retirement, he faced the best in the business. In a short four year window Lesnar dominated perennial contender Heath Herring, removed the crown of MMA legend Randy Couture, smashed Frank Mir and their iconic rematch and stopped the 12 win streak of undefeated Shane Carwin. We often state a champion is not a true  champion until he defends his belt, Lesnar defended it twice.

In addition to these feats, Lesnar also brought the UFC a wave of fans (the key 18-30 yr old demographic) that brought new sponsors and attention that one could argue helped secure the now monumental Fox Sports deal.

Before you judge Lesnar on what may look like a small 5-3 record, think about these items instead.

  1. […] let the pic of ol’ Brock fool you. I’m not here to discuss the former UFC heavyweight champion’s return to pro […]

  2. […] MMA world and the UFC specifically.  Tito carried the UFC during its “dark years” much like Brock carried the UFC over in its PPV mega climb. Ortiz still holds the record as the longest  reigning, […]

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