Saturday In The Park: Here Comes The Pain

I touched on this in our UFC 81 preview with John Chandler (found below) but, again, I really do get the feeling that MMA purists are hoping Brock Lesnar loses to Frank Mir tonight and quietly goes back to the “fake stuff.” I have even read some people contemplating whether tonight’s fight will be a work. I guess it makes sense. This wrestler with a weird tattoo is coming into THEIR world? How dare he! Forget the fact that the man was an amateur wrestling standout. The guy wrestled for Vince McMahon and there’s nothing else to it.

Listen, I don’t know Lesnar and was never even a huge fan of his when he did work for World Wrestling Entertainment. But that said, I do find it a little annoying to read these snarky remarks about his MMA abilities and his time in WWE. So, despite the fact that I think Mir deserves a high-profile victory after everything he has been forced to overcome, I am hoping Lesnar wipes the floor with him and then beats every heavyweight contender. Then, I pray he holds that title for approximately 10-15 years. Yeah, that’s right. 10 to 15 years of having to watch this former fake wrestler guy hold the crown jewel of the UFC. What a beautiful sight that would be.

Anyhow, to celebrate Lesnar’s long-awaited UFC debut, The Park presents his top 3 moments as a member of the WWE roster. And away we go…

3. The Debut – 2002: There I was, sitting in the Molson Centre (now known as the Bell Centre) in Montreal enjoying a good old fashioned hardcore match when this behometh jumps into the ring and starts annhilating everyone in sight. To make matters even cooler, he was accompanied by Paul Heyman. What a brilliant pairing that was.

2. The Loss – 2004: Sure, this match was highlighted by the fact that Lesnar lost his WWE title to the late Eddie Guerrero but, nevertheless, I thought it was Lesnar’s best performance in the ring mainly because he helped make us believe that a former Cruiserweight champion was worthy enough of holding that Heavyweight title. (By the way, isn’t it kind of eerie how this clip starts with Lesnar screaming “just die Eddie”? Sheesh.)

1. The Collapse – 2003: Brock Lesnar superplexes Big Show from the top rope. They land simultaneously. The ring collapses. The ring was gimmicked, I know, but it was a tremendous site.

JarryPark’s 15 Moments Of ’07 – #12: Here Comes The Pain

For the next couple of weeks, will countdown the 15 most memorable combat sports moments of 2007. Some will be positive while others will be negative. Some will have happened in a ring or cage while others on the outside. Every day, we’ll feature a single moment as we bid adieu to ‘07. As we present each moment, feel free to agree or disagree with any of our selections in the comments section below.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering why we chose fifteen the answer is quite simple: You take the “7″ from ‘07 and the “8″ from ‘08, add them together and you get 15. Duh. To see the rest of the countdown click here.

#12: Here Comes the Pain
What: Former WWE champion Brock Lesnar makes his MMA debut
Where: Los Angeles Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA
When: June 2, 2007

What a sight it was for pro wrestling fans to finally see the man once dubbed as “The Next Big Thing” in World Wrestling Entertainment make his MMA debut. Sure, he fought on the K1 Hero’s Dynamite!! USA show which will go down as one of the most flawed MMA cards in history. Sure, his opponent, Min Soo Kim, took the fight on one week’s notice and showed no real interest in putting up a fight against the former NCAA champion. But, regardless, on June 2, 2007, Lesnar officially became the first major North American wrestling star to make the transition into MMA (Ken Shamrock went from MMA to wrestling then back to MMA) and has since been signed by the UFC.

Lesnar will make his Octagon debut against former UFC Heavyweight champion, Frank Mir, at UFC 81 on 2/2/08. A curious matchup simply because Mir is an accomplished MMA fighter and Lesnar, well, not-so-much. That said, I think it’s brilliant match-making on the part of the UFC. If Lesnar wins, well then, he just beat a former UFC champ. And if he loses the promotion can always say there is no shame in losing to a former title-holder. Heaven forbid he would lose to a no-name fighter. Then the UFC’s million dollar gamble would prove to be a million dollar bust. One thing’s for sure: We can expect his match against Mir to last longer than the minute and nine seconds it took for him to dismantle Kim. But we have several weeks to dissect Lesnar vs. Mir. For now, let us remember 2007 as the year “The Next Big Thing” arrived in “The Next Big Sport.”

Further Enlightenment:
The MMA Education Of Brock Lesnar [Sherdog]
The Big Debut [Yahoo! Sport]
The Day After: Brock Lesnar’s MMA Debut [411 Mania]

The Press Conference Wars

Somewhere Vince McMahon must be smiling. First, Randy Couture announces he’ll be holding a press conference to discuss his resignation from the UFC. A couple of days later, coincidentally or not, the UFC decides to hold a press conference to announce their new TV deal with Spike beginning 30 minutes prior to Couture’s. Never a boring day in the world of MMA. Some of the main points discussed were:

  • The UFC has signed a new deal with Spike TV that runs through 2011. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Their current deal expires in 2008 meaning this new one will run for three-year. There will be at least four more seasons of The Ultimate Fighter and twelve Ultimate Fights Nights (four per year from ’09-’11). Also, a brand new “fight series” will be launching in 2010. No more details of this new fight series were made available.
  • UFC president Dana White said he did not schedule this press conference at the same time as Couture’s press conference. He claims it was simply a coincidence.
  • White said he has yet to speak to Couture and is waiting for Couture to call him back. However, in his press conference, Couture said he spoke to White and Lorenzo Fertita yesterday. Hmmm.
  • When asked about Fedor Emelianenko signing with M-1, White said that he was disappointed they couldn’t agree on a deal but that in all his dealings with Fedor’s management not once did they ever talk about Fedor. “It was always about his managers.” He also said “Fedor sucks. He’s not even in the top 5.” He also called Fedor’s agent, Vadim Finklestein, “a fucking liar.”
  • The deal with HBO is dead. The UFC is looking elsewhere. The reason they love Spike TV so much is because they have never tied them down. Spike allows them to look for partners, as well. HBO wasn’t as flexible.
  • Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Brock Lesnar were also on the call.
  • Liddell never really thought about retiring after the Jardine loss and is not concerned with his last two losses. He thinks that a win over Silva will propel him back into the title picture.
  • White said that the winner of Silva-Liddell will definitely be considered a number one contender.
  • White said that the UFC is dying to come to Canada. A Montrealer can only hope…

Take a listen to the UFC press conference. White is asked to address the Couture situation right off the bat.

UFC Press Conference – 10/25/07