Brock Lesnar has heard the criticism. He has.
And the one-time UFC Heavyweight Champion has a response.
“I really don’t give a s---,” Lesnar said during a conference call with reporters to promote Saturday's UFC 200 pay-per-view (10 p.m.).
Lesnar will meet Mark Hunt in the semi-main event of one of the most stacked cards in the promotion's history. The show, which will be held at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is headlined by Daniel Cormier, who will defend the light heavyweight championship, against former title holder Jon "Bones" Jones.
For Lesnar, the fight will be his first professional MMA bout since losing to Alistair Overeem at UFC 141 on Dec. 30, 2011. He signed with World Wrestling Entertainment in 2012, and has become one of the promotion’s top attractions.
Lesnar came close to re-signing with UFC in 2015 before agreeing to a long-term extension with WWE. In announcing that agreement on ESPN, Lesnar told Michelle Beadle he was “officially closing the door on MMA.”
“It is hard to talk about,” Lesnar said at the time. He later added, “This wasn’t an overnight decision. This was a long and heartfelt decision. You weigh out the pros. You weigh out the cons. At the end of the day ...Vince McMahon put the offer on the table that I couldn’t refuse. That’s really what it comes down to. Business and money and health and well-being. I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve been in a bad position with my health. I’ve been in a bad position with my money. Now I’m in a great position with both and I’m happy.”
So, what changed? Why would Lesnar step back into the Octagon? Especially against a fighter who has 11 of his 12 professional wins -- including his last two fights -- via knockout or technical knockout?
“I feel really good,” Lesnar said. “Training camp is going great. I’m happy. I’m happy with my wife. I’m happy with everything. Since I left the Octagon after I (was) beat by Overeem and kind of forced out of the cage by my illness, it haunted me for a long time. So what do you do? I want to get back in the cage and have fun with it. This is all about having fun. I’m not looking past this fight. I’m taking it one day at a time, one training session at a time, and looking forward to July 9.”
Whereas Lesnar is excited about the fight, it appears at least one WWE executive does not share his enthusiasm.
Stephanie McMahon, Chief Brand Officer of WWE, and the daughter of WWE scion Vince McMahon, told Business Insider in a recent interview that the company is “not supporting the fight, necessarily but, again, (UFC) is not a competitor to” the professional wrestling company.
When told of McMahon’s comments, Lesnar replied, “I don’t care what she says.”