EXCLUSIVE! Paul Heyman Talks With Brock Lesnar!
November 2, 2009: Brock Lesnar is in a bad mood today. No surprise. As a matter of fact, you can pretty much put any date in front of this blog, and the statement "Brock Lesnar is in a bad mood today" would most likely apply.
Brock is what some people call "ornery." His drive, his passion for competition (and dominance over that competition) leads him to not play well with others. And when he does play with others, they all better be prepared for a long day, and a thourough ass kicking.
First, let's establish a simple ground rule here. I'm not going to post a bunch of candy-coated quotes from Brock Lesnar about pulling out of the Shane Carwin fight for November 21st. Brock hasn't offered any, and I don't think he'll be making any statements like "I love my fans, gee golly I wish I could fight for you at UFC 106."
If Dana White releases something like that, credit the publicist. That's not how Brock Lesnar feels today. Or any day. He's not here for you. He's here for himself. And he'll put on a great show because he loves to entertain through his violent actions in a violent sport.
The current Heavyweight Champion of the World for the fastest growing sports franchise on the globe, Ultimate Fighting Championship, is not really concerned with public opinion. He has a benefit not enjoyed by Shane Carwin, or most other fighters in that Brock doesn't have a computer. He doesn't pay attention to what people are saying. In layman's terms, he just doesn't give a shit.
It was about three and a half weeks ago, when I was on the phone with Brock, and he sounded just so tired. I asked him if this training camp was harder than the others. He shocked me with his answer. "I'm just exhausted," he admitted, "I train, I come home, and I crash. I'm going to take a day or two off and just try to shake this thing."
That was hint number one. Something was wrong.
About a week later, Brock told me he was behind in his training camp. "I'm still going to beat Shane Carwin's ass," Brock stated, "then let's go ice fishing or something. Whatever I have, it's throwing me off my game."
Uh oh. Hint number two. NOTHING throws Brock Lesnar off his game. Not injury, as I've seen him work through those. Not personal turmoil. I've seen his home life get turned upside down. He works through that as well. Not financial issues. Brock's had his battles with divorce, audits, being grounded by the WWE lawsuit. He likes to work. He likes to train. He likes to fight. He likes to compete. Whatever it takes to throw Brock off his game must be pretty ugly.
Then came the inevitable. Brock pulled out of the fight. He really had no choice. He's worked so hard, for so long, to find his passion in life. And now that he's found it, he's not going to half-ass a fight, whether Shane Carwin is the man to take the title from Brock, or whether Brock could whip Shane Carwin's ass even if he's battling pneumonia, swine flu, diarrhea, gonorrhea, syphilis, and sickle cell. The point is that Brock Lesnar could not train properly for a fight that would most likely be purchased by upwards of 1,000,000 people. To put it in perspective, the estimated number of people expected to pay a premium dollar for Brock Lesnar's next UFC Title defense matches the number of PPV buys scored by Floyd Mayweather's return to the ring against a Hall of Fame opponent like Juan Manuel Marquez.
More people are expected to pay to see Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin on pay per view than this year's WWE Wrestlemania. Just think about the responsibility of being that main event fighter.
Over the years, we've seen fighters pull out of contests because of a hurt pinky, a stubbed toe, a bad cold, all sorts of reasons. Brock Lesnar does not have swine flu. But I can assure you, he's sick. And he's tired. And he's sick and tired ... of being sick and tired.
The Minneapolis media, which heralded BROCK'S APPEARANCE AT THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS GAME, all of a sudden pointed to the guest appearance as proof that Brock was not deadly ill, and just wanted to postpone the fight. Just to set that record straight, Brock's appearance was a last-minute deal, and was part of the Vikings salute and participation in South Dakota Tourism. Brock, who was born and raised on a farm in Webster, South Dakota, was representing his home state, and felt an obligation to go. Plus, he was spending time with his daughter Mya (who, like my daughter, is 7 years old), and had the chance to take her to a game.
Not bad, especially when you're too goddamned sick to train anyway!
It's funny. Brock Lesnar is in a bizzaro world version of his life as a professional wrestler. Back then, people who knew it was "fake" (I always hated that word in terms of professional wrestling... it's pre-determined, it's planned, but it's far from a safe tango in between the ropes), would never be convinced otherwise. People who hung onto the belief, would never be persuaded that it just "couldn't be."
Today, Brock is being slammed for "faking it." He doesn't want to fight Carwin. He's too spoiled by success. He's been slacking, and just doesn't feel like stepping into the Octagon with an undefeated bad ass like Shane Carwin, who is living and breathing the dream of challenging the former Next Big Thing for the Ultimate Fighting Championship of the World.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Brock Lesnar wants to fight Shane Carwin. He'd like to fight Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, too. A rematch with Randy Couture. A dream fight against Fedor. Brock wants to do Ultimate battle.
As for being spoiled by success, that's LOL-funny. Brock has turned down movie roles, including an easy generous payday to do a fight scene with Dwayne "Don't Call Me Rock" Johnson. He's not looking for prime time exposure except when he steps into the Octagon and defends his title.
Brock Lesnar got a bad case of something that affected his upper respiratory system. Something that both figuratively and literally knocked the crap out of him. Something that would take down any normal human being, and this time it was something that took down the Ultimate Fighting Champion.
Think this is a delay tactic? What's Brock's end game? He has to defend the title against Carwin. The longer he waits, the more Carwin gets to train. The more Carwin gets to study Lesnar's tapes. The more momentum Carwin builds up. It's to Brock's advantage to get the fight behind him. He can't yet. He has to train properly.
For those who want to talk trash about Brock Lesnar, go right ahead. He's not going to pay attention to you. He's not on the web, and he's only buzzed about things by a select few that he is willing to talk to. And while you're painting the picture of a faking, slacking, swine-flu infected Octagon-dodger, keep in mind that sooner rather than later, Brock Lesnar is going to step into the cage and defend that title. Whether he's defending the championship against the undefeated hard hitting knockout artist, or a confident self-promoter talking trash is up to Shane Carwin, who should definitely place a call to Frank Mir and ask "what is Brock's reaction when he finds out someone's been talking trash about him?"
Brock Lesnar is sick. That's bad news for no one but Brock Lesnar (and, well, I guess Dana White, too). But Brock Lesnar won't be sick forever. He's going to get better. He's going to get healthy. And he's going to go back into that Texas Chainsaw Massacre-like existence, training in the middle of the woods in the sub-zero temperatures of Alexandria, Minnesota. Sick today, healthy tomorrow.
And that's bad news for Shane Carwin