Make no mistake: Brock Lesnar is officially the biggest star in mixed martial arts. The man might not have the most technical boxing footwork or an advanced ground game off of his back, but none of that matters. He has both a huge physique and a huge personality, not to mention the fact that he has proven over the course of his past three fights that he can win at the highest levels this sport has to offer.
Because of his newfound position as the “face” of the sport (alongside Georges St. Pierre), everyone and their mother has commented on Lesnar’s post-fight antics. The reality is that his abrasive personality is doing more good for MMA than it is bad. Ryan touched on it here at Fightlinker earlier, but the dude from With Leather also does a great job putting the situation in perspective.
And yeah, some people are gonna be pissed at the fact that Lesnar shot the bird to the fans or discussed the joys of Coors Light or performing a horseshoe-ectomy or having sex with his wife, (even though he later apologized for it) but honestly, screw them. Those are the people that can’t stand MMA, that feel they’re above it. None of these writers have any problems with Terrell Owens acting like an asshole after he catches a touchdown pass. Or drops one, for that matter. Brock Lesnar is not going to be visiting kids in hospitals and promising knockouts to 9-year-old boys with terminal cancer. Nor should he; the reason MMA works as a sport–and grabs such a large following of males that don’t follow traditional sports–is because it shatters that stodgy, sportswriter-cast mold of the 20th century athlete.
I love Brock. The guy won UFC’s biggest fight to date. He won that promotion’s heavyweight title. And then Grizzly Rogan jams a mic in his face and asks, “So how’d it feel to kick that guy’s ass?” WHAT IS HE SUPPOSED TO SAY? This is the guy that Dana White brought in. This is the guy that got fed up with WWE. The guy that walked away from the NFL because he didn’t want to play in Europe. The guy that came to MMA because guys with 25-inch necks don’t work the late shift at Denny’s. It’s wishful thinking on White’s part that he can take Brock’s name and peel away the rest of that wrestling persona like a banana peel.
Keep in mind that this guy is not what anyone would consider a “hardcore fan” of MMA. To further drive this point home, I just got off the phone with a friend of mine who knows practically nothing about the sport who was asking me about Lesnar’s post-fight shenanigans. After I broke it down for him, he laughed a bit and said “That guy is my fucking hero.”
It’s been said multiple times that the reason MMA is so successful is precisely because it isn’t the type of sport grandpop grew up watching. The action inside the Octagon is often times technical, occasionally brutal and always honest. Love Brock Lesnar or hate him, but the guy is going to tell you exactly what he thinks whether you like it or not, regardless or whether it’s “PC” or — for that matter — whether it even makes coherenet sense. Old fucks who run shit might not like that but for the rest of us it’s both entertaining and refreshing.