UFC president Dana White and company recently put to rest months of speculation surrounding the future of former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar by announcing that the reclusive Minnesotan behemoth would serve as a coach on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show.
Many speculated that Lesnar, who is well-known to prefer the privacy of his Minnesota wilderness compound to cameras and interviews, would be unwilling to spend six weeks in Las Vegas taping the show, but White somehow convinced Lesnar to leave his secluded home and bring his coaching team to the bright lights of the Sin City; though, he knows it may not go smoothly.
“In dealing with Brock, one minute, he can be into something, and the next minute, he can completely be not into something,” White said during a recent media conference call. “I’m already prepared for this, mentally, and it’s gonna be a tough season. I know it is.”
Not only was Lesnar’s preference for seclusion expected to get in the way of his becoming a TUF coach, but rumors persisted since his October TKO loss at the hands of Cain Velasquez that the former WWE superstar was over MMA and was looking to perform as a professional wrestler again. White has repeatedly shot these rumors down, and told media on the conference call that Lesnar was never in discussion with the WWE.
“None of that was true,” he said. “Obviously, I was in communication with Brock and his team, and talking to them the whole time… There was no wheeling and dealing about the WWE. I think everybody knows how I feel about that. He’s under contract with me.”
Now that Lesnar is confirmed to be one of the next TUF coaches, some are criticizing the choice, saying that, at 5-2, the former NCAA Division-1 champion is not experienced enough in MMA to coach up and coming fighters. White fought that assertion on the conference call, saying that his accomplishments over a short period of time competing in MMA more than qualify him to be a legitimate coach.
“The guy’s a former world champion, has beat guys and held the title. No matter what his record is, what the guy has accomplished in the short amount of time that he’s been in MMA is incredible,” White said. “To say the guy doesn’t have the credentials to coach ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.”
Lesnar will coach The Ultimate Fighter 13 opposite current number one contender Junior dos Santos, and the two will meet in the cage afterward–likely at UFC 131 in Vancouver this June–to determine the next challenger to Cain Velasquez’s heavyweight crown.