Luke from Bloody Elbow has the interesting opinion that Brock Lesnar could be the worst thing to happen to MMA since it was pulled off PPV in the 90’s.
For MMA as a sport to be taken seriously by the general public, it needs the general public to think the best fighters in the sport are legitimate athletes. If someone like Lesnar can make a transition from pro wrestling to MMA stardom, it will be hard for the sport to be taken any more seriously than wrestling is. I realize that Lesnar has credentials as a real athlete in collegiate wrestling, I’m glad White got Lesnar to sign up with UFC, and I’m curious to see how Lesnar does. But I’m concerned that if Lesnar succeeds, he’ll be doing it at the expense of the sport of mixed martial arts.
I don’t think anyone is going to question Lesnar’s qualifications as a ‘real athlete’. He’s got an alphabet soup’s worth of amateur wrestling credentials, and nearly got into the NFL despite the fact that he barely had any real experience at all. Sure, he spent a few years growling and stomping around a ring like a retard for the WWE, and for that we shall mock him forever. But it doesn’t take away the fact that we recognize his (possibly) natural physical abilities.
Luke seems to be trying to push the idea that anyone making it to the top in this sport without years and years of training is going to wreck MMA’s reputation as a sport requiring skill and dedication. To me, I’ve always found that idea stupid … the appeal of MMA to me is that it’s a sport anyone can go into.
You don’t have to be wrestling since you were 10 to compete in MMA. You don’t have to be raised by the Gracies. There are tons of fighters out there who exploded out of nowhere with nothing more than a few instructional dvds and the warrior spirit to stand against someone with way more experience and think “I can still beat this guy.”
Honestly, anyone who can’t see the skill involved in MMA isn’t the kind of person who’ll ever become a fan of the sport. And those of us who do know what’s up understand that training, experience, and hard work are just equalizers that help smaller opponents face guys like Brock Lesnar and still have a chance to win.