Jim Ross, a long-time announcer and former WWE personality, appeared on a recent edition of Submission Radio to discuss Brock Lesnar’s MMA return.
If Jim was surprised that the WWE agreed to allow Lesnar to fight at UFC 200
“Well, not really. Brock is part-time performer for the WWE, certainly a phenomenal performer, and one could certainly say that he and or John Cena are 1-A as far as the top guys in the company. But I think that Vince certainly wants to keep his talent happy. The happier you keep your guys, the more productive they will be. Brock had an opportunity to earn a remarkable payday for UFC 200 – and I’m hearing all kind of numbers. I have no idea what the conclusive number is, but I’m thinking it’s certainly north of three-million dollars, and maybe more than that. Which is pretty good, as they say, day’s work. So I think Vince probably wanted to keep Brock happy. But I certainly think that somewhere down the road, Vince’s generosity will be repaid by the UFC in the form of something that is good for the WWE – Vince talked about Ronda Rousey at Wrestlemania 33. Something like that could certainly be in the cards. So the way I looked at it, and I wrote about it on my website, it’s a win-win. I think everybody wins. Lesnar gets a great payday, UFC gets an attraction that’s going to drive pay-per-view buys without question, and the WWE makes the talent happy. I’m sure [WWE] got some kind of compensation for it directly, and then some sort of indirect pay-off at a time to be determined is probably in the works as well.”
If a loss hurts Lesnar’s reputation and drawing power in the WWE
“No, I don’t think so. I can certainly see why that question would be asked – and it is a good question. I think that people are now, with all the information on social media, I think people can differentiate a real sport, UFC athletic event, from a structured, theatrical-based presentation in sports entertainment. I just don’t think it would hurt him at all, quite frankly.”
If Lesnar will have more fights in the future
“I would say [regarding] more fights in the future, I’m guessing – strictly guessing – less than fifty-fifty. I would approach this as it’s more than likely the last time I’m gonna see Brock Lesnar in the octagon. But as sure as I say that, you know, [if] he goes out there and has a stellar performance against a heavy-handed Mark Hunt and gets his hand raised, he may get the itch to do another one somewhere down the road. And again, if the money’s right – obviously UFC’s paying WWE something for the use of Brock Lesnar’s services, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a unique deal because it’s never happened before – but I think it’s a win-win for everybody in that regard. So it’s hard to say he’ll have another fight. I lean that he will not, but I think a lot of it is what you alluded to, the outcome of this fight. I am going to the fight; I’ll be in Las Vegas. I’m of the belief that I don’t think the fight will get out of the first round. I don’t know who’s going to get to sleep first in the octagon before they go to sleep in a hotel room later in the night, but somebody is getting knocked out and I think it will be inside of five minutes.”
How long Lesnar has been training for this fight
“He’s a really pragmatic guy. He’s like overly blue-collar, you know, kind of a “nuts and bolts” guy, not a fancy guy. He fancies himself as a farmer, a rancher, outdoorsman. And it’s all true. It’s not an act. So I would tell you that he knows that anything less than probably an eight-week camp is not going to be acceptable for his own standards. The last thing he wants to do, is to make his return in this much-valued matchup of two knockout guys, and lay an egg. I don’t think he wants to soil the sheets on that deal. So he’s just a competitive guy. So I’m telling you that I would guess, by the time the fight rolls around, he’ll have at least eight good weeks of training under his belt.”
On what Ross expects from this fight
“I’m a whole lot more worried about his striking defence, than I am his readiness to fight or his physical conditioning. I think his conditioning will be good. But I can’t see that he or Hunt are gonna prepare for a long fight. I think they both know that it’s gonna end violently and suddenly, early – earlier than maybe some want to discuss. But Lesnar will be ready to go, and he’ll be healthy. That’s the main thing.
If JR still wants to see Lesnar vs. Fedor or if he’s lost interest after Fedor’s last performance
“I have not lost interest, and I don’t think the general public has lost interest. Fedor can be easily resurrected. The library on him is unbelievable. It’s easy to get him restabilised. He’s not moving from Russia, so even though it sounds so blasé and passé, the United States versus Russia storyline still plays. Is it kind of getting dated? Probably. But I can tell you this, when the United States was playing Canada in the last Winter Olympics in Hockey – and of course America is not an amateur Hockey state or country – the broadcast was on fire. The nationalistic thing is the point I’m making. So the USA versus Russia concept in parenthesis is still sellable. And everybody knows it’s not going to be a pretty fight. You’re going to see somebody get their ass whipped. It’s just going to be who can get their biggest punch into somebody’s face, or a liver shot, or something debilitating. So you know that you’re gonna have a train-wreck if you have Fedor and Brock – cause it can’t be pretty. It can’t be. So I think if it’s on a good card, it gets a rating. It either sells pay-per-views or gets a massive television rating.”
JR’s reaction to CM Punk making his UFC debut at UFC 203
“I think one of the great things about UFC signing CM Punk is that they have no expectations as to what to expect. I don’t know how the fans, any fan, can have any bonafide or legitimate expectations, because we just don’t know. It’s totally foreign. It’s a whole new world, new pitch. It’s a new game for CM Punk. I know he’s very cerebral. I know he’s a big fan of the genera. I know he’s worked hard. He’s a very, very smart guy – driven, if you will. He doesn’t even know how he’s going to do. So I think that the unknown is what’s going to sell that fight. Don’t doubt for a minute that the UFC or the WWE fans are gonna wanna buy a UFC event, cause we’re just too curious. We have no idea what’s going to happen. Is Punk going to get knocked out in the first minute? Is he going to get bloodied up and beat half to death? Cause we know that he won’t quit readily. Or is he gonna come in and shock the world and be a world-beater and a kickass MMA guy? I don’t know. All I know is that he’s going to be mentally and physically ready. I will certainly buy the fight, because I’m as curious as the next fan. What the heck’s gonna happen?”