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Friday, July 15, 2005
Pro Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts--- Lesnar Reconciles with WWE, Likely Ending the Possibility of an MMA Career
Brock Lesnar is believed to have re-signed with WWE, causing both sides to drop their lawsuits against each other.
Brock Lesnar had sued WWE to get out of the six-year no-compete clause that he signed when he left WWE and unsuccessfully tried out for the NFL in 2004. Lesnar expressed in his lawsuit a desire to either wrestle for other pro wrestling promotions, or compete in mixed martial arts, which he would not be able to do until June 30, 2010 under the terms of his WWE no-compete clause. WWE had counter-sued Lesnar for supposedly breaching his contract by appearing in January 2005 as a member of the audience at a pro wrestling event in Tokyo, Japan.
This news comes approximately two weeks after Lesnar basically threw in the towel verbally in a newspaper interview, saying that he just wanted to go back to work in WWE and was willing to drop his lawsuit.
Lesnar has not been paid any of his WWE salary since March 2004, and in addition to that, WWE had cut Lesnar off from all back-pay merchandising revenue when they claimed he breached his contract in January 2005. Combine that with the fact that he had no other income, had very little money saved, owed a six-figure amount to the IRS in back taxes, and had to pay lawyers to fight WWE in court, and WWE knew it was just a matter of time until Lesnar ran out of money. To top it all off, when Lesnar finally did run out of money recently, his fiance Rena Mero (formerly known as Sable in WWE) left him.
WWE had a story up on its web site claiming that Lesnar was meeting with WWE management to "negotiate a potential return." That is false. In fact, Lesnar has negotiated with WWE throughout the past two weeks, and the meeting last week is believed to have simply been the place where the final paperwork was signed. This is simply another example of WWE taking a real-life situation (ie, negotiations with Lesnar) and trying to turn it into a storyline. Rather than just announcing on WWE.com that they have signed Brock Lesnar, WWE is going to get a few days or weeks' worth of huge web site traffic in order to make the announcement slowly over a period of time.
Partially as a result of Lesnar re-signing with WWE, and partially as a result of the fact that their new TV deal with USA Network is nowhere near as lucrative as their Spike TV deal, WWE is undergoing massive lay-offs to cut expenses, even as the company continues to make over $30 million per quarter in net profit. In addition to lay-offs among front office staff, WWE recently laid off 18 wrestlers. When Lesnar does return to WWE, he will likely face a large amount of resentment from the locker room, not only due to the circumstances under which he left WWE last year, but also because his salary will be viewed as a contributing factor to so many wrestlers being released.
As for how successful or unsuccessful Lesnar would have been in mixed martial arts, it's likely that we will never know. He could have been a force to be reckoned with, given his amateur wrestling credentials, but he still would have needed extensive training in stand-up striking and Jiu-Jitsu.
As it stands right now, unless the rigors of being on the road with WWE prove to be too much for him (as was the case in 2004), it looks like Brock Lesnar will be spending his forseeable future as a pro wrestler.