Dana White defends choice to give Brock Lesnar a title shot: “he beat Mark Hunt”

Brock Lesnar, Dana White

Moments after UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to capture the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 226, we learned that his next fight will pit him against former UFC heavyweight champion and long-time WWE star Brock Lesnar.

Cormier called Lesnar out, Lesnar lumbered into the cage, and the pair engaged in a heated confrontation complete with plenty of bravado, cussing and even a few shoves.

While this news generated excitement among some fans, it generated backlash from others, who feel Lesnar doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a heavyweight title fight. Those skeptics remind that Lesnar has not legitimately won a fight since 2010, as his last fight, a 2016 decision defeat of Mark Hunt, was overturned when he tested positive for the estrogen-blocker clomiphene.

UFC President Dana White has heard the howls of these naysayers, and he’s paying them no mind.

“We’re definitely gonna make that fight,” White said at the UFC 226 post-fight press conference (transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting). “Lesnar hit me up a couple days ago and said, ‘Sorry I went dark on you but I had some stuff I had to take care of. I’m gonna come to the fight this weekend.’ [I said] ‘Okay, see you Saturday.’

“He came here tonight, he was all fired up, if you couldn’t tell. Right when he got to my seat on the side, he was acting like a lunatic. He was fired up and excited for this fight. His gut told him Stipe [Miocic would win] because he felt that Cormier put too much weight on for this fight and he thought it was gonna affect him. It didn’t.”

“He’s free and clear to do this fight,” White continued. “He and Vince [MacMahon, WWE President] have a good relationship and he’s not gonna do anything to piss Vince off. I don’t know the specifics but he’s good.”

“People are gonna criticize us no matter what we do,” White concluded. “Brock came in, he popped for that thing, but he beat Mark Hunt who was one of the top guys. He’s a former world champion, it’s a fight that people want to see, and it’s definitely a fight that Cormier wants. Cormier wants that fight.”

Before Brock Lesnar can fight for the title, he will need to serve the remainder of a USADA administered suspension stemming from his no-contest with Hunt. This will keep him out of action until January, at which point the fight should be given the green light.

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/9/2018.