Brock Lesnar and the UFC Hall of Fame – Why it has to happen.
By Jason Moles:
A lot has been said recently of Brock Lesnar’s (5-3) impact on mixed martial arts. Some argue that his foray into combat sports was nothing more than a flash in the pan and that his “all sizzle – no steak” legacy is inconsequential, relegating Lesnar to little more than a footnote in the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. These claims are fueled by Lesnar’s inability to take a punch well, his disappointing downfall after only eight professional fights, and a deep seeded hatred for anything pro wrestling. Despite all of that, I contend that not only was Brock Lesnar a force to be reckoned with inside of and outside the cage, but that he is worthy of an induction of the UFC’s Hall of Fame.
First off, consider Lesnar’s uncanny ability to move the needle. The former professional wrestler possessed an unequaled drawing power evidenced by his seven Octagon bouts selling somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 million pay-per-view buys. You don’t even need to look at the name of the PPV to know if he was fighting or not, the numbers clearly proclaimed his presence. Every fighter who fought on the same card as Lesnar benefited from the extra exposure garnered by the most polarizing figure in the sport’s recent history. The sound bytes, the media attention from ESPN, and the casual fan’s increased level of interest in the product Lesnar was part of is more than many fighters can say they have brought to Zuffa’s crown jewel.
Don’t mistake brevity for lack of importance. The Minnesota native accomplished in a handful of years what most fighters will never accomplish and the ones that do, spend a lifetime in its pursuit: a belt that is equal parts leather and gold and is one hundred percent proof positive that you are the best in the world. Lesnar’s accomplishments are what solidify the arguments above. As he rose to stardom, he beat the best the UFC could throw at him in a weight division it all but owned. And if it weren’t for his bouts with Diverticulitis, he may very well still be the heavyweight champion of the world.
The UFC Hall of Fame, home to legends of the sport, well, most of them anyway. It’s not a Hall of Best Records. It’s not the Hall of Really Really Good Fighters, and it’s certainly not the Hall of Legitimate Unarmed Combatants Who Like to be Punched in the Face. It is the Hall of Fame – something Brock Lesnar knows all too well. If there’s anything this guy is it’s famous. From his post-UFC 100 promo ripping the corporate sponsors to his recipe for chicken salad, the bearded viking was a memorable character, a household name, and the main event. You can’t tell the story of the UFC without mentioning the NCAA standout turned pro wrestler turned NFL player turned mixed martial artist. Sylvester Stallone was inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame for his role in the ‘Rocky’ movies. Mike Tyson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for, well, being Mike Tyson. Are you going to tell me either of these two helped their promotion more than Brock did the UFC? Didn’t think so.