Fifteen months ago, former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar (pictured) “officially closed the door” on a return to MMA after receiving a deal he could refuse to remain with the WWE.
That door was kicked back open Saturday when it was announced Lesnar would make a return to the octagon for the historic UFC 200 event on July 9. While Lesnar appeared happy with the terms of the WWE’s offer, he claims living a life “haunted” by what if wasn’t worth living.
“I couldn’t live with that decision,” Lesnar stated on Monday’s edition of SportsCenter. “That decision has haunted me for the last 15 months, and I figured I couldn’t live like that for the rest of my life. I don’t wanna be sitting 20 years from now saying, ‘You know what, son? You shoulda went and did that.’ On the biggest stage of all – I was on UFC 100 so why not be on UFC 200?
“This [decision] haunted me for a very long time.”
Lesnar believes his MMA career was robbed by diverticulitis, which is when pouches get inflamed in the wall of the colon. Lesnar was diagnosed with the illness in 2009, shortly after capturing the UFC heavyweight title. He was “miraculously” cured from the illness the following year, but it came back to sideline him again in 2011.
Now healthy, Lesnar wants a chance to take back what he believes was taken from him.
“It haunted me because at the top of my career, I wasn’t at the top of my game,” Lesnar said. “So I felt like I was cheated out of my career in the UFC. In in my mind and in my heart, I never lost to a foe. I never lost to my opponent. I lost to diverticulitis.”
However, Lesnar’s UFC return will be short-lived. The WWE is simply giving Lesnar a “one-off” opportunity to allow him back in the UFC to star in a historic event.
It’s unclear if the UFC had to back up the Brinks truck in order to lease Lesnar for the night from the WWE, but nothing in this world is free. Lesnar said it was a simple decision for the UFC request his services – money talks.
“Big business,” Lesnar said of why the UFC wanted to bring him back. “At the end of the day, I’m a prize fighter. Listen, titles don’t pay the bills. I’m a prize fighter, I fight for money. It’s no different. They’re making money, I’m making money, everybody’s making money. That’s what this is all about.
“But more importantly, it’s not about the money for me. I’ve always said money is very important to me, but you can’t step inside the octagon just for the money. This is in my heart, and it just so happens that I’m making a boatload of money.”
Lesnar refused to disclose how much the UFC was paying him, but he was all smiles on the SportsCenter set.
Lesnar will battle Mark Hunt at UFC 200. Let’s see if Lesnar will still be smiling on July 9.