WWE News WWE NEWS: Huge Brock Lesnar Interview on ESPN SportsCenter - announces new deal with WWE, answers UFC question, more
Mar 24, 2015 - 5:45:44 PM
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By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
WWE World Hvt. champion Brock Lesnar appeared on ESPN SportsCenter from Los Angeles Tuesday afternoon to deliver big news that he has re-signed with WWE and is officially closing the door on UFC.
Lesnar sat down with ESPN host Michelle Beadle to discuss WrestleMania 31 and his decision to re-sign with WWE, which he said was finalized Monday at Raw.
"Last night, old Vince (McMahon) put the offer on the table that I could not refuse," Lesnar said in the sit-down interview.
Lesnar said his WWE legacy will not end Sunday night at WrestleMania, as he will continue working a part-time schedule with full-time pay.
As he struggled to find the words to sum up the last year of wrestling with his future, Lesnar said it was a "very hard decision" to completely walk away from UFC. He said that it took one year to make the decision, and he spent the past two months training to get back to UFC.
"I felt physically great, but something was lacking mentally," Lesnar said about his UFC training. Lesnar said he decided that it was not worth the training at this stage of his life to fight again, despite the competitor inside him wanting to fix his last UFC loss.
Lesnar said he talked to UFC president Dana White and WWE head Vince McMahon when weighing his decision. At the end of the day, Lesnar said, WWE won out.
"I am officially closing the door on MMA," Lesnar said as ESPN flashed a headline on the screen reading: "Brock Lesnar rules out returning to MMA. Will remain with WWE."
As for why he announced the decision before WrestleMania, Lesnar said he wanted to be fair to the fans knowing that WrestleMania was not going to be his last event. He also vowed to "go home with that damn belt," referring to the WWE World Title.
Lesnar also addressed appearing at the UFC 184 event in Los Angeles in February. Lesnar said he wanted to feel the energy of a UFC show again - and to see Ronda Rousey fight. However, he decided that he was better off as an entertainer for WWE and spectator for UFC.
ESPN then went to former WWE announcer Jonathan Coachman for reaction from ESPN's Connecticut studios. Coachman asked Lesnar why he chose entertainment over fighting.
Lesnar said the older you get, the wiser you become and he did not want be "that guy" who retires and comes back to fight again.
Lesnar reiterated that it was not an overnight decision, but a long, heartfelt decision after weighting the pros and cons. He said that he is healthy and his well-being was important at his age.
"I've been in a bad position with health and money. Now, I'm in a good position with both," Lesnar said. "And I'm happy."
Lesnar added, "I love being in the squared circle. I just hated the outside ambiance of everything else," referring to his past disputes with WWE. He closed by saying why he needs the part-time schedule: "It's all fake but the money and the miles. Me and the highway did not get along."
Coach talked up Lesnar's title defense against Reigns at WrestleMania 31 on Sunday to close the interview segment.
Caldwell's Analysis: So much to unpack, including how this impacts the WrestleMania main event on Sunday. Not just from a booking stand-point, but how will the audience receive the match? If the audience knew Lesnar was leaving after Sunday, would they have poo-pooed the match like Lesnar's departure match at WM20? Now that Lesnar is staying, does that make it more likely that he will be cheered and Roman Reigns booed even more so than originally expected, thus opening the door for a double-turn to set up Lesnar's next series of matches? Or, will WWE keep things exactly on-course for a teased Brock vs. Rock match at next year's Mania?
Lesnar staying in WWE also sets up a number of potential opponents over the next few years. Will the Daniel Bryan match happen? Who else steps in-line for a featured match against Lesnar? At a time when WWE's planned next top star, Reigns, is not connecting with the whole audience in the spot, this gives WWE a big boost creatively and creates flexibility to come up with different scenarios centered on Lesnar.
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