Lesnar a perfect villain for UFC
Brock Lesnar pointed at the crowd and raised both his middle fingers in victory
He then got in Frank Mir's face as his defeated challenger stood up
Lesnar continued later with an entertaining post-fight rant
LAS VEGAS -- If UFC president Dana White were in the business of creating characters instead of fighters, storylines instead of matches and superheroes instead of champions, he still couldn't have dreamt up a villain as perfect as Brock Lesnar.
Even when Lesnar was in the fanciful world of the WWE and it was his job to play the role of an evil wrecking ball, he never played the part as beautifully, as masterfully, as deliciously wicked as he is now in the real world of the UFC.
The main event of Saturday night's UFC 100 card will likely be remembered more for what happened after Lesnar beat Frank Mir with a second round TKO to become the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion than what happened during the fight. The battle was nothing more than a brief ground-and-pound exhibition where Lesnar reminded the capacity crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center why he was a former NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion.
After referee Herb Dean stopped the fight 1:48 into the second round as Lesnar whaled away at Mir's bloodied face in the corner of the Octagon, Lesnar got up, pointed at the crowd and raised both his middle fingers in victory as he was showered with boos. He then got in Mir's face as his defeated challenger came to and brushed off security guards as they tried to control him.
It was scene reminiscent of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin at the height of his career as his rebel persona lifted the WWE to new heights of popularity. The only thing missing was a Coors Light victory shower although Lesnar promised that would come later.
"I'm going to go home tonight and drink a Coors Light because Bud Light won't pay me," said Lesnar, pointing at the logo of the presenting sponsor of the event. "I'm going to sit down with my friends and family and hell, I might even get on top of my wife tonight."
As if that wasn't enough Lesnar continued with an entertaining post-fight rant that was better than any promo he ever cut while he was in professional wrestling.
"Frank Mir had a horseshoe up his ass and I told him that a year ago," said Lesnar, who refused to touch gloves or shake hands with Mir before or after the fight. "I pulled that [expletive] down and I beat him up. Whooo!"
Only five fights into his MMA career and Lesnar already looks and sounds more comfortable than he ever did in in the WWE. He also seems equally at ease as when he compiled a 106-5 record as an amateur wrestler.
Lesnar was made for this "heel" role in the UFC. He relishes it and feeds off it unlike anyone else the sport has ever seen. As he hugged his wife Rena (wrestling fans will remember her by her stage name, "Sable"), he smiled and turned to the camera and pointed at a nonexistent dimple as exited the Octagon and encouraged the crowd to continue to boo him. "I love it," he said. "Keep going."
While Lesnar may have looked like an uncontrollable loose cannon after the fight, he was a changed man when he walked into the press room soon after. Wearing a wide smile and holding a Bud Light, he took a big swig as he looked at White and said, "I love Bud Light! I must have caught a hard knee to the head."
After the fight White had pulled Lesnar out of the locker room and chewed him out before Lesnar nodded his head and said that he was embarrassed and sorry. For as entertaining as Lesnar's act might have been to some, White has worked hard to attract mainstream advertisers like Bud Light and Burger King as wasn't about to let Lesnar ruin those relationships in an effort to momentarily incite the crowd.
"I was blown away. I don't think in the history of the UFC we've ever had someone do something like that," said White. "It's not who we are and it's not who he is. I've spent time with the guy. He gets in there and the adrenaline starts kicking and the mouth starts moving, but the brain isn't sending anything to his mouth. If he was a [bad guy], I would tell you, but he's not. He's a smart guy. He's been in the WWE so long that he thinks he has to jump in there and be the heel."
As much as White and Lesnar were able to save face with their mainstream sponsors, the fact is White and the UFC have created their growing niche by having a certain renegade persona that goes in the opposite direction of the mainstream. The next time White has an interview or press conference not laced with a dozen expletives while calling out rival promoters or fighters will be the first.
Lesnar might be a "good guy" out of the Octagon but the fact is, the guy is a perfect "bad guy" in the cage and no different than Dennis Rodman and Mike Tyson, who attracted attention and put on a show when the spotlight shone. Lesnar might apologize now, but I would be shocked if we don't see a repeat performance after his next act. And as much as White might act agitated, he should be comforted by the growing pay-per-view numbers and ticket sales.
"I was in the entertainment business for a while and I guess there's still a little bit of that in me," said Lesnar. "I get asked if there's anything I could drag over from the WWE and I guess you saw a little bit tonight. I'm used to selling pay-per-views and tickets."
Like him or not, that is certainly what Lesnar did Saturday night as he established himself as not only the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion, but also the best heel in MMA history. The next step is getting him in the Octagon with the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, who remains the sole MMA headliner that has yet to fight for the UFC.
"Eventually Fedor is going to be here," said White. "I want Fedor. I want Fedor to come to the UFC. We'll get the deal done and we'll get Brock vs. Fedor and it will be a huge fight."