Déjà vu – Brock Lesnar Retires from Mixed Marital Arts (Again)
By: Jesse Donathan
Déjà vu is the sense that we’ve been here before, and indeed, there is a haunting familiarity in the air. Recently it was announced that World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. (WWE) juggernaut Brock Lesnar has retired from mixed martial arts. We’ve heard this song and dance before, so call me skeptical when I say that I won’t be surprised to see Brock Lesnar back in the cage again. “Brock Lesnar is officially done with the UFC—at least for the time being,” writes Tim Briechle of mensjournal.com in his article titled, “Brock Lesnar retires from MMA for the Second Time in Six Years.” According to Briechle:
“Additionally, the US Anti-Doping Agency has reported that Lesnar has been removed from their testing pool. UFC requires all of their fighters to undergo USADA-run tests, and Lesnar infamously failed two tests prior to his fight against (Mark) Hunt due to testing positive for the banned substance clomiphene.”
Clomiphene is an anti-estrogen pharmaceutical often times used in conjunction with anabolic steroid use. According to dopinglinkki.fi, “Clomiphene is a doping substance according to the penal code. Particularly men, who use anabolic steroids, commonly use clomiphene or other anti-estrogens (for example, tamoxifen) as an accompanying drug.” The document goes on to state:
“The purpose of clomiphene, in this case, is to inhibit the estrogen problems caused by the overdosed anabolic steroids, that appear when anabolic steroids convert in the body to estrogens or other metabolic products that have estrogenic effects.”
With Lesnar out of the testing pool, one would naturally assume that in order to fight again he would have to undergo lengthy and rigorous testing in order to enter the cage again. And indeed, for any other fighter this might be the case. However, we’ve seen this exact scenario play out before. So, while Lesnar may in fact be retired for good, history has shown us that where there is a will, there is a way. And that there are many ways to skin a cat.
In a January 11, 2019 independent.co.uk article titled, “UFC, Brock Lesnar and president Dana White being sued by Mark Hunt over Lesnar’s UFC 200 failed drugs test,” author Marx Clark writes that, “Hunt has accused the promotion of racketeering and fraud, and is seeking compensation for having to fight against Lesnar despite the UFC allegedly knowing he tested positive for banned substances.” The Independent would go on to write that:
“According to Hunt, the UFC deliberately hid all knowledge that Lesnar had tested positive. He says Lesnar and the UFC had four months to put him through USADA testing but elected to do it one week before fight night, not providing enough time for the results to come through.”
All but one of Hunt’s claims against the UFC were ultimately thrown out of court according to a February 15, 2019 ESPN.com article titled, “Judge dismisses most of Mark Hunt’s case against UFC, Brock Lesnar,” by ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto. According to Okamoto, “Judge (Jennifer) Dorsey ordered Hunt and the UFC to enter a mandatory settlement conference on the final outstanding claim — breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. That claim is against the UFC only.”
So, while there was a breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, everything else Mark Hunt alleged was deemed without legal merit. If the UFC isn’t dealing fairly and acting in good faith, what this essentially means is that the exact circumstances that played out in the Mark Hunt versus Brock Lesnar fight could happen again. Thus, why I believe its entirely possible we see Brock Lesnar back in the cage once again, probably ready to hulk smash anyone that gets in his way while he’s at it too.
Lesnar last competed in the UFC in July of 2016, putting the beat down on former K-1 kickboxing champion and perennial UFC knockout artist Mark Hunt in a fight many expected to see Lesnar go down in flames in. It was a convincing, dominate performance that opened a lot of people’s eyes to what Lesnar still brought to the table, a fighter who had been previously written off as all but finished after a bout with diverticulitis ultimately left his career in professional mixed martial arts very much in doubt. The unanimous decision victory was later overturned to a no contest after Lesnar’s positive tests results were made public.
Unknown to most, Brock Lesnar brings legitimate grappling credentials to the sport of MMA. A former University of Minnesota NCAA national wrestling champion, Lesnar is much more than just the hulking professional wrestler you see on television. A former UFC heavyweight champion, Lesnar has fought a murderer’s row of fighters during his UFC tenure, capturing the UFC title against mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture at UFC 91 in 2008 in only his third fight with the promotion. A former member of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings practice squad before being cut from the team in 2004, Lesnar brings size, athleticism and dominate wrestling to the table and is a handful for even the most elite fighters in the sport when he is on his A-game.
Generally speaking, when people say something you are forced to take them at their word. That is of course, unless you have reason to believe otherwise. In this case, this is the same old song and dance we’ve heard before. Brock Lesnar retires, everyone in the sport moves on before ultimately being thrown a wild card where Lesnar returns and makes a huge splash. I won’t be surprised to see Brock Lesnar back in the cage, looking jacked and ready to beat the living daylights out of whoever is holding the UFC title.
Nigel Benn, What Are You Doing?
Nigel Benn, What Are You Doing?
By: Greg Houghton
Former two-weight world champion Nigel Benn has recently stated that a contract has been drawn which secures a fight between himself (aged 53) and Steve Collins (aged 52) to take place this year.
Photo Credit: Nigel Benn Twitter Page
Now at the age of 53 Benn has transformed from the animal he used to be, into one of the most gentlemenly and respectful figures associated with the sport. Benn is a British boxing legend and appears to have a wonderful and loving relationship with his son, upcoming prospect Connor Benn. Heart warming scenes have shown the two after Connor Benn’s previous fights kissing and hugging in celebration. Nigel Benn appears to have gotten the balance just right in supporting his son whilst staying away from the limelight of Connor’s career, all the while giving him the room he needs to grow as an athlete and having the complete respect of his son. On camera, Nigel Benn is also an absolute joy to watch in interviews as someone whose wise words and tips for the younger generation of the sport sparkle with joy and pride at the man that his son is becomming.
It has been pressed for a while now that he and old foe Chris Eubank (AKA English) have been planning to fight for a third time. They are both now over the age of 50. Apparent complications in closing the deal (which are very believable based on Jr’s career so far) have meant that Benn has apparently withdrawn from the idea, and instead offered the fight to someone who has beaten them both, Steve Collins.
“For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”
Collins stopped Benn twice when they fought, at a point where Benn was rumoured to be going through serious issues in his home life which hindered his performance. These performances, particularly his last one against Collins, are perhaps the catilyst for Benn wanting to take this fight. In a recent interview with IFL TV, Benn stated “For me it’s all about closure, it ain’t about the money. I just want to have a fight, and Steve obliged”. It’s not surprising Collins, aka The Celtic Warrior, took this fight as he not only beat Eubank and Benn twice, he long after retiring continued to try to book a fight with Roy Jones Jr.
This was one of the greatest eras in British boxing with the top three (Colins, Eubank, Benn) all dying to fight each other and doing so multiple times. The hostility and rivalry between these three, along with top contenders Henry Wharton and Michael Watson, was electric for boxing fans.This period in a way draws parallels to the essence of Ali, Frazier and Foreman in the early 70’s. Some would say that this era in which the three Brits starred is a world away from the state of boxing today, with fighters seemingly being able to vacate belts and back out of fights at will. However, this era happened more than twenty years ago, and these once great fighters, have aged.
History tells us, for the most part, that ageing fighters who were once legendary bring sad moments to the ring, which are difficult for boxing fans to swallow. Watching Bernard Hopkins get dismanteld by Joe Smith Jr, Muhammed Ali get punished by Larry Holmes, these are not fights which any boxing fan really wanted to see. Most recently, watching EnzoMaccarinelli knock Roy Jones Jr out in the fourth round of their fight in December 2015 was like watching your favorite pub burn to the ground in front of you.
If the fight between Benn and Collins were to get licensed, it is not a fight that many boxing fans would want to see at the age these two are at now. Several leaked videos of Nigel Benn in training at the age of 53 show him being lightning fast and looking exceptional for his age. In fact, Benn claims to be capable of “doing things now that he’s never done before”, due to his healthy and stress-free lifestyle of recent times.
Nigel Benn has grown old very gracefully and is a witty, charming and entertaining presence in his interviews. We beg, please Nigel let this fight go for you have nothing to prove. You are one of Britain’s boxing heroes and your work will always be remembered. Stay in shape, stay humble and continue your wonderful work in guiding your talented son to stardom. Let boxing fans continue to marvel in the magnificence that was the era of Middleweight and Super-Middleweight boxing of the 90’s. As Eddie Hutch famously said to Joe Frazier at the Thrilla in Manilla;
“No one will ever forget what you did here”.