Brock Lesnar will not be returning to the UFC, and the rumors that have been circulating about why he will not be returning are generally not true.
Dana White spoke with TMZ sports and discussed Lesnar’s status after it was revealed several weeks ago that Lesnar would not be returning to the Octagon and that reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier would instead be the man to face Stipe Miococ in a match at UFC 241 in September.
Daniel Cormier has been asking for a match against Brock Lesnar for nearly a year. The animosity between the two men picked up when Brock Lesnar made a surprise appearance sitting at cage side for UFC 226. Lesnar shoved Daniel Cormier to begin promoting a potential between the two mammoth heavyweights.
Lesnar had to re-enter the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) pool for drug testing and he also had to finish out the remaining time in his previous suspension for an anti-doping violation. Lesnar sufficed these requirements and was cleared to be able to return to the Octagon as soon as January for a fight against Cormier. Unfortunately, that fight would never come to fruition.
Dana White would go on to abruptly announce that Brock Lesnar will be remaining retired and that his return to the UFC is not going to happen.
Immediately, speculation began circulating that Lesnar had dismissed the UFC offer because they were moving their pay-per-view broadcasts over to ESPN (under ESPN+ streaming services) because of the seven year deal between UFC and Disney’s ESPN Network. According to sources, financial incentives for pay-per-views would decline as a part of the new deal
Lesnar had a reputation as being of the the biggest draws for the UFC throughout his duration with the promotion. A large portion of his income from MMA came from pay-per-view bonuses and buy incentives.
Financial security was a big part of Lesnar’s decision, but not quite in the same manner that we had come to believe. Lesnar spurned the offer from UFC exclusively because CEO Vince McMahon opened his checkbook to keep Brock Lesnar with WWE.
“That’s not why Brock Lesnar didn’t fight,” White said to ESPN when he was asked if Lesnar rejected the UFC’s new pay-per-view system under the ESPN umbrella. “Brock Lesnar got a better deal is basically what happened for Brock.”
White laughed at the notion that Lesnar and Conor McGregor were ditching UFC because of supposedly impending financial restraints.
Dana White said that couldn’t possibly be further from the truth. He also boasted about how UFC’s pay-per-view business is doing incredible.
“That’s absolutely false,” White said. “And if you really look when we were on pay-per-view, we were on traditional pay-per-view, everybody was talking about how the pay-per-view business was dying. It’s dying and nobody can pull numbers anymore.
“Really? We were still pulling five to seven million pay-per-view buys a year when we were on the dying, traditional pay-per-view. You can’t listen to any of this noise.”
As soon as Lesnar let Dana White and UFC know that he would not be returning to their company, he popped back up on WWE television nearly immediately, winning the Money In The Bank Ladder Match.
Lesnar appeared at the WWE’s latest show in Saudi Arabia called “Super ShowDown.” He attempted to cash in his Money In The Bank contract on Seth Rollins’ after Rollins’ match with Baron Corbin, but was unsuccessful. For now, it appears that Brock Lesnar has put his career in the Octagon behind him, and it is unlikely we will see him in the Octagon in the future.