By Zach Arnold | January 11, 2011
There’s a lot to look at when it comes to the concept of Brock Lesnar and Junior dos Santos as coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter.
The immediate reaction to this is that Lesnar will somehow be a terrible coach. The problem with that theory is that when you look at the coaching staff Brock will likely bring with him on the show, it’s going to be a great staff. Marty Morgan, Erik Paulson, and Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros. These are trainers who command respect and deserve it. I have no doubt that the fighters on the show, whatever level they will be coming in at (the show is all Welterweights this season), will learn plenty and get better. The same for the team of coaches Junior will bring into the mix.
I think UFC being able to deliver Brock Lesnar for The Ultimate Fighter will certainly put the pressure on Spike TV to pony up big bucks for a new deal with the UFC. After all, Lesnar and dos Santos are going to draw very high ratings. Will they match the ratings that Rampage and Rashad did with Kimbo? I don’t know, but it will be close.
What makes this situation interesting is that the fight they are building up towards will happen in June in Vancouver. Brock’s history in the UFC is that he draws enormous PPV buys but is not necessarily a strong live house attraction. Given that UFC does well in Canada, the live house portion won’t be such an issue. The more intriguing issue is how hated Lesnar will be in Canada given his very public comments about how much he hates their health care system. Believe me, this will be echoed ad nauseum leading up to the fight.
There may be some irony here as well with this fight taking place in Vancouver. Vancouver is where Chuck Liddell has his last fight and got sent into retirement by Rich Franklin. Could dos Santos do the same thing to Brock?
Dave Meltzer sees all upside and no downside to Brock & dos Santos as coaches on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter:
“He’s going and it wasn’t easy negotiations but, um, at the end of the day like we said Brock’s a businessman and I think they were able to convince that doing this…
“There’s a lot of upsides for everyone, I mean this is like a no-lose situation for all concerned. I’m amazed at any negativity towards this because it’s, you know, obviously it was the optimum decision which is the question is they could actually could pull off getting Brock to do the show, that was always the problem. But with 13 weeks of television or 12 weeks or whatever it turns out to be with Brock and Dos Santos, Dos Santos is going to end up being a very well-liked guy and a much bigger star for a fight with Brock than if they had just done the fight cold and, you know, Brock gets TV. It’s going to be airing the same time his book comes out, which we had pointed out was a perfect thing for him doing this season of Ultimate Fighter. You know, the June 11th date is a tough one and again because of the traveling as far as like the book promotion, I don’t know what the details are on that because the people involved like really just found out, so… we’ll probably more on that in a day or two.
“But, you know, as far as um, you know, he’s going to be on TV every week. The show’s going to get good ratings. It builds up a fight. The fight with Junior, with that 13 week build-up, may do a hell of a number. I could see, you know it’s hard to throw out a number right now. It ain’t going to do, I can’t imagine it doing less than 750,000 and you know I mean if there’s the right conflict and things like that because we’re talking about a season of Ultimate Fighter that’s going to be doing I would think bigger ratings than this last season and, you know, you got Brock who’s a draw going you know in a match where the winner gets the title and the other thing is that you know originally Brock was told that he would need two wins, which is another key thing, he would need two wins to get the championship match and now he only needs one and that basically was not thrown in there as a way to get him to take the fight, that is just how things, you know, people will talk about favoritism and it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the fact that Cain Velasquez got hurt and Junior dos Santos could have sat and said, I’ll wait for my title shot. Junior did not want to do that and the only logical fight would be, I guess you could say Carwin would have been a logical fight but Brock’s more logical than Carwin since Brock beat Carwin and um… and again with Carwin coming back from the back injury, although you I don’t know how much he would have been able to coach because again the coaching starts in a couple of weeks, so Carwin couldn’t have done the show. But the point is is that like it’s, as far as the match goes, it’s the you know it’s the logical match to make for a number one contendership and whoever wins is the rightful number one contender. dos Santos is going to be either a huge, I would think that a combination of doing this show and beating Brock will lead to dos Santos and Cain being a much, much bigger fight than it would have been elsewise. If Lesnar wins, Lesnar and Cain you know coming off of this show, I can’t see it doing less than 1.2 million buys and that’s probably a low estimate.
“So, I just see the whole thing as a positive unless somebody gets hurt or something silly happens that screws it all up, but on paper it’s awesome.”