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Many UFC wheels in motion for Lesnar & dos Santos on The Ultimate Fighter

By Zach Arnold | January 11, 2011

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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.”

Topics: MMA, Media, UFC, Zach Arnold | 25 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

25 Responses to “Many UFC wheels in motion for Lesnar & dos Santos on The Ultimate Fighter”

  1. David M says:

    Brock is going to be beaten into Bolivian. J2S is a much better boxer and a bigger puncher than Cain. Is he the wrestler Cain is? No, but his takedown D is stellar, and he is quite tall with a great reach. This is a really tough fight for Brock; he has some balls to accept this.

  2. Steve4192 says:

    So, I guess this means we can drop all the “Brock is a quitter” and “Brock is going to retire because he’s afraid of getting hit” talk now? For a guy who is supposedly afraid of getting hit, Junior sure does seem like an odd choice for a comeback fight.

    The rumormongers are going to be eating some crow for the next couple of days.

    • Rich Hansen says:

      and let’s not forget the Brock is a Bully bullshit, too.

    • Depends. Dude just got bodied up and hasn’t had a single fight since. My assumption is that he’ll win, but that could be totally wrong. How can anyone make grant assertions about what Lesnar will or won’t do in the ring?

      • Steve4192 says:

        I’m not making any claims about what will happen in the fight. I’m just saying that the folks who claimed he lost the will to compete after the Velasquez fight are full of shit.

        Junior might kick his ass, but that doesn’t change the fact that Lesnar proved the claims about him not wanting to fight and/or looking for easy fights to be utter and complete bullshit.

        • He might come in looking to take a minimal amount of damage and cash a huge paycheck that he spent the last couple weeks negotiating with Zuffa. Who is to say until the fight is over?

        • 45 Huddle says:

          It all comes down to if Brock Lesnar can take Junior Dos Santos down.

          If he can’t, he is a walking target. He will look better then he did against Cain, but he can’t win that fight.

          If he can take him down, my bet is that he stops him. Just from the way Dos Santos moves, I don’t think he has the greatest of grappling skills. i think he has learned how to avoid being taken down well against guys without great takedowns. But i don’t think he has the ground game to compete with Lesnar.

  3. 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.

    Couldn’t that just as easily cut the other way too? To prove the value of the UFC product to Spike for what they’re asking (and to other networks as well), they need to put their best faces out there to sell the show and draw viewers. If they went out there with Sonnen and Wanderlei and pulled .9s, I can’t imagine it would have helped.

  4. David M says:

    this is just a terrible matchup for teh Brock. He can’t take a punch, and he’s going against the best boxer in the division who is also 6′4 245 solid muscle who has the speed, athleticism, and takedown D to keep the fight standing.

    Brock will kill anyone who can’t hurt him standing, J2S does not fit in that category.

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    It will average over 2 Million viewers per week. For a TUF fight!!

    4 times the number of people who will be watching Fedor/Werdum on Showtime in February.

    The is the current state of MMA in 2011….

  6. EJ says:

    As far as the actual fight goes I like Brock in this match up for all the supposed questions about him JDS has just as many to answer.

    And the reason why so many people are so negative on this fight/announcement is because it doesn’t make sense at the moment. Brock vs. Mir on TUF would have gotten even bigger ratings for Spike so would Brock vs. Nelson, JDS add nothing to this show and takes away from it imo. Not to mention Brock should not be getting a number 1 contender fight after a loss he should be at least 2 fights away from that.

    Mir and Dos Santos was the right match to book to help get Junior more exposure against a former champion who doesn’t have world class wrestling. This to me is like a SF move not a UFC move which continues to baffle me i’m really trying hard to find out why this is happening but I still can’t figure it out. It’s a rare mistake by the UFC and i’m really hoping Dana will get some heat from the fans and change his mind on this one.

    • Michaelthebox says:

      While you’re right that Mir (and probably Nelson) would have added more value as coaches, Dos Santos as coach adds more to Dos Santos in the future. Since Dos Santos almost certainly has a longer and more prestigious career ahead of him than any of the other names mentioned, the UFC will benefit by making him a star right now. If Brock ends up winning, a rematch against Velasquez will sell like crazy.

    • IceMuncher says:

      I disagree completely EJ. This fight makes perfect sense. There’s only 2 guys right now that are close enough to a title shot to give JDS a somewhat valid #1 contender fight. One is Lesnar, and the other is Carwin, who lost to Lesnar in his last fight.

      I don’t know why you want Mir. He’s 2-2 in his last 4, with wins over Kongo and Crocop (meh), and losses to Carwin and Lesnar. He’d make a good build up fight, but he’s not worthy of a #1 contender match, at least not over the two guys he lost to.

      Granted, Brock is coming off a loss, but there’s no reason to have him crush some cans for forms sake. If he can beat highly regarded JDS, he deserves another shot at the title, simple as that.

      It’s not a SF move either. If it was, the UFC would be putting all its eggs in one basket. In this situation, no matter who wins, the UFC wins.

      • EJ says:

        I guess that’s where we disagree, I don’t see Brock or Carwin as next in line as contenders both came off stoppage losses. Mir is the only top ranked HW coming off a win pairing him against Dos Santos on TUF or for an interim title makes perfect sense.

        You then could have booked Nelson vs. Lesnar which would have made sense now and kept Dos Santos vs. Lesnar as a future superfight. This is a SF move because it just seems thrown together to get a reaction and not well thought out which is surprising coming from the UFC.

        • edub says:

          So in your scenario we are just supposed to forget that Mir was smashed by both Carwin and Lesnar?

          Not to mention that the win he is coming off of is over a guy not even ranked in the top 20, and was unanimously one of the worst fights of 2010.

          I don’t think that makes sense at all.

        • EJ says:

          You’re not supposed to forget anything, all of those guys have lost fights. Mir rebounded and picked up a win by KO and is a guy who knows how to sell fights and would make people care about Dos Santos. This isn’t SF, guys coming off loses shouldn’t get put into number 1 contender fights.

        • edub says:

          Mir rebounded and picked up a win over a middle of the road guy in the UFC, and had one of the worst fights of 2010.

          I understand your sentiment about fighters not becoming #1 contenders coming off a loss. But it’s a hell of a lot worse just to bump fighters above their counterparts based on the fact that they just one a single fight. Brock Lesnar is 3-1 in his last 4 fights. All of the wins were over top 5 ranked fighters. Frank Mir is 2-2 with both of his wins being over fringe top 15 HWs with Kongo probably being around 10-13 at the time, and Mirko being closer to #20. Wins over average (for the UFC top contenders) competition should not be held in the same regard as wins over elite competition.

          Besides Lesnar can sell a fight just a well as Mir can.

  7. bluerosekiller says:

    Surprising choice, but understandable.
    Dana doesn’t like to be upstaged & I believe that this is his response to the Strikeforce tourney.
    And, I think he wants to get as much value out of Lesner while he can. This way he’s got him locked up for at least one more big PPV & he get’s his ratings value to help with the new Spike deal. It’s win win for the UFC.

    As for the fight itself?
    Dos Santos belts him out in 1.
    As long as Junior stays on his feet, it’ll be easy for him. Mark my words. This could be Lesner’s final fight.
    He just doesn’t have the proper instincts for the striking game & at this stage of his career, it’s not something that he can just “pick up”.
    On the ground, he’s a beast.
    But, on his feet against a high level striker he’s a sitting duck.

  8. Coyote says:

    I have love for both org’s i will watch Strikeforce and i will watch TUF.

    The ones who doesnt think in this way, really are retards.

  9. Zack says:

    I wonder how many days Brock will actually spend in Vegas.

  10. bluerosekiller says:

    same here.
    Good fights are good fights regardless of who promotes them. Choosing sides with one organization over another just mystifies me.
    As a boxing fan, that\’s like me refusing to watch a Don King card because I like Top rank better or only watching bouts on Showtime because I don\’t like HBO. It makes no sense.

  11. [...] Meltzer thinks it’s a win-win for everyone involved. Transcription via Fight Opinion: “There’s a lot of upsides for everyone, I mean this is like a no-lose situation for all [...]

  12. Matthew says:

    I think this is a great move for the UFC. Putting Lesnar upagainst Mir or Nelson would have gotten good rating but would not have been better in the long run.

    If Lesnar wins this a fight against Cain becomes more attractive because he would have beaten a better striker than Cain.

    If Dos Santos wins then not only will he get the bump in popularity by beating Brock but if he does it in a dominate fashion like Cain did then they can Market two power houses going at it.

  13. Black Dog says:

    Lesnar is perfect for TV; everyone knows who he is, and love him or hate him, people will watch to see what he says/does. It’s Brock TV from then on.

    The coaches? If those are the correct names, then it’ll be an excellent experience for the fighters. Brock will likely stick to his own training, say a few things for the camera and let the teachers teach.

  14. 45 Huddle says:

    I think between ratings for replays of past UFC events and “Brocktober” ratings….. SpikeTV saw what kind of eyeballs this guy can bring to the channel. And I’m sure they was high motivation for everybody involved.

    There is something about Brock that just makes you want to watch him. He’s an interesting guy….

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