Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar announced Tuesday that he has signed a multi-year contract with the WWE, thus ending his UFC career. UFC president Dana White knew the announcement was coming but denied reports that the UFC doubled its contractual offer in an attempt to keep Lesnar.
“Yeah, he let us know, (but) we never doubled anything,” White said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Basically, he came to us and said, ‘You know what, guys? Vince (McMahon) gave me an offer that I can’t refuse, and I think that this is the best decision for me at this point in my life.’ And I agree with him. I think that this is absolutely the best decision for him. He’s 37 years old. He’s got a great deal.”
Lesnar had spent the past few months training to get his mind and body right to re-enter the octagon, but in the end, he realized it wasn’t for him.
“You have to have that fire,” White said. “This is a young-man’s game, fighting. So I think Brock made the absolute right decision, and I’m happy for him.”
Brandon Tierney, who was a diehard fan of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in his youth, asked about the relationship between White and McMahon. After all, both are visionaries in the combat industry, but they’re also cutthroat businessmen and, in some ways, competitors.
Do these two men get along?
“It’s not like we’re adversaries,” White said, chuckling, “but it’s true. Vince is one of these guys. He’s absolutely competitive. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s the way it should be. Every day that you get out of bed, if you want to be successful, you got to be ready to go to battle.”
McMahon is built that way. So is White, who used to box and study jiu-jitsu.
“The way we ended up buying the UFC is because we started taking jiu-jitsu, me and my partners,” White explained. “We fell in love with jiu-jitsu, and it let to us buying the UFC.”
Asked what his walk-out music would be if he were a fighter, White said he wasn’t sure but that it would likely involve Rage Against The Machine. That selection is a stark contrast to that of Conor McGregor, who walks out to Sinead O’Connor’s “The Foggy Dew,” which, as White explained, is an Irish war song. McGregor, 26, is from Dublin.
He’s also arguably the biggest male star in the sport. McGregor is 17-2 and has won 13 straight matches, including UFC wins over Dennis Siver, Dustin Poirier, Diego Brandao, Max Holloway and Marcus Brimage.
McGregor hasn’t quite entered Ronda Rousey status, but three of his last five fights haven’t lasted past the first round.
“Oh yeah, he’s huge,” White said. “We’re lucky because we have over 600 people under contract, so we have a lot of stars. But there’s no doubt. Conor McGregor came out of nowhere. He’s won five straight in the UFC, four by knockout. Yeah, this kid is a massive star.”