Shortly after making history last night at UFC 226, Daniel Cormier and Brock Lesnar had a confrontation in the Octagon, which reeked of pro-wrestling. But, the new heavyweight champ had a fiery response for fighters who say the incident was staged.
Cormier rocked the MMA world and then some in Saturday’s headliner, by knocking out Stipe Miocic in the first round. With the victory, Cormier became just the second fighter in UFC history to hold two belts, concurrently. “DC” is also jus the fifth fighter to win belts in two UFC divisions.
Suffice to say, it was an epic moment, due to what Cormier had accomplished. Leading up to the fight, it had been reported that Lesnar could be in the audience last night, since the UFC was looking at having him fight the winner. That was indeed the case, and after Cormier called Lesnar into the Octagon, the pro-wrestling star quickly pushed the star, before firing off a very pro-wrestling like promo.
Well, the incident didn’t sit well with a lot of purists and fighters, who quickly voiced their objections on social media. When Cormier was asked to respond to the criticism the incident had been staged, however, he said this at the post-fight presser (quote via MMA Fighting):
“‘Staged, they’re idiots’ — fine,” Cormier said. “Stay broke. You’ve got a guy like Brock Lesnar in front of you and you don’t go crazy on him? Are you crazy? Brock is a pro wrestler, he does fake fighting. So I will do fake fighting with you until I put my fist upside your face. I’ll do fake fighting with you, Brock. And then I’ll punch you upside your head.
“So yeah, yeah. You guys call it fake online. I see a bunch of fighters. ‘Oh, it’s so fake, I don’t want to watch this.’ Tune in and keep lacing my pockets. You’ve guys gotta get on board. These guys get on the microphone after their fights and say, ‘Yeah, it’s whatever the UFC decides.’ OK.”
So, there’s a couple of ways of looking at this. It seems like Cormier’s response here is more so about his willingness to fight Lesnar, and that’s a separate issue from the UFC’s decision to book the bout itself. And, of course, it’s also aside from what happened last night.
Cormier is nearing the end of his career, so, you can’t really fault him from signing up for a bout, which will almost certainly deliver him a massive check before he hangs ’em up.
But, none of that changes the fact that Lesnar has no business challenging for the heavyweight title. Officially, he hasn’t won a bout since 2010. It’s also pretty hard to believe that Lesnar went into the cage last night, legitimately angry with Cormier. It was all about promoting their fight. After all, during the same press conference, Cormier relayed that Lesnar has met his family, taken photos with his kids etc.
So, this is about making the UFC money, plain and simple. Will hardcore fans watch? Of course. But that doesn’t change the fact it shouldn’t be a title fight.