Sports

Brock Lesnar Leaning Towards UFC Return

One of the biggest questions on the minds of the WWE Universe is what happens to Brock Lesnar in 2015. The WWE world champion is set to become a free agent and according to a new report, we may be seeing the last of Lesnar in the WWE for quite a while.

Brock’s impending free agency is not necessarily a new story, yet the closer we get to Brock entering the market, the bigger the story gets. Not since 1997 has the WWE had a situation where they were set to lose their current champion to free agency. While he may not be out the door yet, a new report suggests that Brock will not be re-signing with the WWE.

Dave Meltzer has the latest in the newest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to Meltzer, Brock may be heading back to a familiar place. Meltzer reports that all signs point towards Lesnar returning to the UFC in 2015.

“The Lesnar people always keep things quiet, but within the company, the belief is that he’s going back to UFC, and his showing up lighter to TV last week confirmed that to people who thought it. If it wasn’t for Punk, this would be a big deal, but with Punk, it’s a much bigger deal because the last thing WWE wants is this perception that UFC has just grabbed two of the company’s biggest stars.”

Brock’s last match on his current deal would likely take place at WrestleMania 31. The working plan all along has been for Lesnar to win the title at SummerSlam and hold it through Mania, dropping it to Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns. However, many in the industry are pondering whether it is time for the WWE to change course rather than head into Mania with a lame duck champion.

Former WWE head of Talent Relations Jim Ross has been critical of WWE’s handling of Lesnar. Ross was the man in charge with negotiating contracts back in his day as a WWE office employee. Ross has questioned the WWE booking several times on his podcast for booking Lesnar with the WWE title without a renewed contract. If Ross were still in charge he would have made sure that Lesnar had a new contract before he got the run as world champion.

Meltzer brought up CM Punk and it is ironic as to how much Punk may wind up dictating business here. As Meltzer said, the Punk to UFC move all of the sudden puts a new priority on keeping Lesnar in the WWE. Meltzer is right to an extent in that it would look pretty bad for the WWE to lose two of its top three stars to UFC…who they repeatedly dismiss as competition. As a public company it is hard to justify these two moves to stockholders, especially with a struggling network.

That said, I don’t think Vince McMahon is going to let that influence his bottom line. The sad reality to those hoping to see Brock stick around is that it makes very little business sense to bring Brock back. The economics are much different and let’s call it what it is. Brock has not been a difference maker. He hasn’t spiked the Network nor has he been able to bring a large number of fans to RAW. At the end of the day whether the WWE has Brock or not, they are going to sell the same number of Network subscriptions thus it probably makes more sense on paper to let Brock go back to UFC and move on.

It will be interesting to see how the Rumble plays out. The betting line was always on Brock retaining. Yet some are reporting that there could be a change and Cena could wind up with the title, facing Reigns at Mania. We will probably get a much better indication on the WWE’s intentions come the Royal Rumble and the result of Lesnar vs. Cena.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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