I am certainly not the first blogger to debate this topic. Google “Brock Lesnar UFC Hall of Fame” and you’ll see plenty of blogs and editorials debating his merits. Most hardcore MMA fans and media say no but that won’t stop the campaign. The Hall of Fame is a sham without the inclusion of the former UFC heavyweight champion.
No matter how you feel about Brock and whether his run was lucky or not, his record stands on its own. The man walked into the UFC with one MMA fight and quickly rose to the top of the heap. What may be even more impressive in hindsight is the way he recovered from his first loss. The Frank Mir loss was devastating and many fighters would have never been able to get past it. Lesnar did and would win the world heavyweight championship.
But the Hall of Fame isn’t all about wins and losses. Brock Lesnar shouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame because he had a 5-3 UFC record. Let’s be honest. That record overall for a career of a fighter is nothing to get rewarded for. It’s not the record that gets him in, it’s what he did to elevate MMA and bring it in more fans than any other fighter in UFC history!
Take a look back at the history of UFC buyrates. Once again a simple Google search will bring them to your eyes. In the 20 years that the UFC has been in business and that’s a long time, Brock is responsible for headlining three of the five most purchased events in UFC history. Furthermore, Brock is responsible for the first and second most purchased UFC in event. The numbers don’t lie!
How big of an accomplishment is that? Not only does Brock own four of the top ten, he is the last man to headline a UFC event that broke 1 million buys to date. Not even Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2, a fight that some called the biggest fight in UFC history broke 1 million buys (although early estimates had it 1 million)! Not only did Brock Lesnar retire, but he took a lot of fans with him. Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell retired and the UFC kept on trucking. Brock retired and buyrates have never been the same.
Now I know I am going to hear the argument saying that the UFC has more events and is oversaturated compared to Lesnar’s era. I don’t buy it. Fans will pay for fights they want to see no matter how many fights are taking place in a calendar year. I’d argue that the UFC had more exposure back then if you look at how many times UFC Unleashed aired on Spike TV and it didn’t impact Brock’s drawing power one penny.
The reason I even started thinking about this again were recent Hall of Fame inductees Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar. Bonnar in particular is getting into the UFC for the impact his fight with Forrest had on business and nothing else. Griffin the same but while a little more decorated still does not boast a record of statistics that I’d expect to see on a Hall of Fame fighter. If these two guys are in the Hall of Fame on the impact of that fight how is Brock Lesnar not in the UFC for the impact he had on UFC 100? It’s been four years and the only fighter that has come close to beating that number was…Brock Lesnar!