ESPN and Bleacher Report broke the news Saturday evening Brock Lesnar has been booked to compete at UFC 200 on July 9. WWE released the following statement on WWE.com shortly after news first broke:
“Brock Lesnar remains under contract to WWE, however, he has been granted a one-off opportunity to compete at UFC 200. Following this milestone event on July 9, Brock will return to WWE for SummerSlam on Sunday, August 21, live on WWE Network.”
Personally, I get the feeling WWE was caught off guard by the announcement, which wouldn’t be a surprise given this is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about. No doubt Dana White cleared it with WWE before this announcement was made.
WWE will need to keep tabs on this very closely. As far as WWE is aware, Lesnar will only be involved in a one-time only match at UFC 200. Lesnar has obviously been training to return to the Octagon since he returned to WWE if last year’s drama is any indication. No one really thought his contract extension would be the end of his UFC days.
Lesnar hasn’t been seen in WWE since his match with Dean Ambrose at Wrestlemania 32. As he said in his interview on the Stone Cold Podcast, he likes to do his own thing. Clearly WWE wasn’t in a position to deny the cross-promotion opportunity given Lesnar is involved.
If WWE is smart, they’ll keep eyes and ears near him at the UFC promotion. Someone they trust. Seriously, they’d be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity Lesnar handed to them, more so given his previous success in UFC and Ronda Rhousey’s Wrestlemania 31 appearance last year. Paul Heyman is the most likely guy given their working relationship already. Plus everyone knows he can sell any promo at the drop of a hat. If they’re lucky, Heyman or whoever else they send with Lesnar might be able to scout some potential talent for WWE.
WWE’s worst nightmare with this: Lesnar decides to commit to a few more UFC appearances down the road. Given he can make his own schedule with WWE, who’s to say he won’t be asked to fight in other UFC promotions? Brock Lesnar is also the only person who has been both WWE Champion and UFC Champion.
WWE booked him for Summer Slam in August so we should see him a week or two after he returns from UFC. He will likely be put in the title picture upon his return just to keep him happy. I doubt he will be booked in a non-title match. It will also be after the brand split so…yeah. He should be back just before the brand split though.