On Tuesday, May 22, Randy Couture and Kenny Florian both stated that former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar should be in the UFC Hall of Fame. Both men gave their opinions while appearing on "UFC Tonight."
I think Couture makes a solid argument for Lesnar. He believes that even though Lesnar had a short career, his impact in the sport made a huge difference, especially in pay-per-view numbers.
Florian backed up Couture's statement. "Yeah, definitely," Florian said. "Former champ. Was in the UFC for a short amount of time, but no one probably will ever, ever have that kind of impact in that short amount of time."
While I respect both fighters, especially Couture, I disagree with them. Lesnar deserves credit for bringing new fans to the sport and earning the heavyweight title. However, I don't believe that an athlete with just eight career fights should be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame.
There's a reason why only eight people have been enshrined. Every single one of them made a huge and lasting impact on the sport. Lesnar definitely brought in a lot of new fans and earned huge pay-per-view numbers, but he didn't do anything that broke new ground in mixed martial arts.
Lesnar didn't introduce a new style, nor did he stay in the sport long enough to ensure that we'll be talking about him in five years. We still talk about what Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock did nearly 20 years ago in the cage. Their legacies live on today. I don't think many people will remember the details of Lesnar's title reign a decade from now.
The truth is that the eight men who are enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame transcended the sport. Their accomplishments are beyond measure. Even TapouT founder Charles "Mask" Lewis Jr. deserved entrance into the Hall of Fame due to his continued devotion to growing and supporting MMA. TapouT was one of the few companies that stuck with the UFC and MMA in its lean years. Lewis engaged with the fans and did everything he could to promote the sport and its fighters.
When I think about Lesner's accomplishments in the UFC, they simply don't compare. Yes, he headlined four of the six best-selling UFC pay-per-views of all-time. Yes, he won the heavyweight title and defended it twice. Yet those accomplishments aren't enough to put him in the Hall of Fame. Such an honor should only go to athletes who finish their careers as one of the best fighters of all time. In Lewis's case, he wasn't a fighter, but his work in the sport was vital to its survival.
I'll always appreciate what Lesner did throughout his journey in MMA. However, his body of work simply isn't enough to earn entry into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Derek Ciapala has been following MMA since the days when Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie fought in the octagon. You can follow him on Twitter @dciapala.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Brock Lesnar
- Kenny Florian
- Randy Couture
- UFC Hall of Fame