One of the big stories heading into UFC 168 last weekend were the rumors surrounding Brock Lesnar attending the show and requesting a meeting with Dana White to discuss a possible return to the company.
White playfully shot down the rumors, telling Ariel Helwani on Friday that Lesnar wouldn't be in attendance at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and if "something were to happen with Brock, you would know about it."
Well, something did happen with Lesnar on Monday night as the former UFC heavyweight champion made his return to the WWE after a four-month hiatus.
Flanked by master mouthpiece Paul Heyman, Lesnar announced on RAW that he was back to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and went on to demolish former two-time Olympian Mark Henry:
Dave Meltzer of MMA Fighting (and Wrestling Observer fame) reported prior to Raw that the rumors were all just a stunt to generate buzz surrounding Lesnar and that he's under WWE contract until 2015:
White, over the weekend, had said that he didn't know anything about Lesnar rumors, which resurfaced regarding a match with Emelianenko. But given the news last night that Lesnar would return to WWE, it made the timing of those rumors as likely a publicity plant to build for his return to pro wrestling Monday. It was foreshadowed Sunday night when the WWE was taping a television show that would air on Friday, after Monday's show, and an interview talked about what Lesnar had done on Monday (which airs live tonight) on Raw to Mark Henry.
The return was supposed to be a surprise to fans, as WWE has not advertised or announced Lesnar's return, although sources in the company have confirmed his return on Dec. 30 has always been the plan.
Lesnar has a unique pro wrestling contract where he only works a few major events a year, and does television only leading up to those events. He most recently disappeared from WWE television in August. He will wrestle again at the Royal Rumble, the WWE's second biggest event of the year, on Jan. 26, in Pittsburgh, and again at WrestleMania, on April 6, at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Hook, line and sinker.
The media took the bait and we all fell for it.
Very crafty, Brock. And shout out to White, who appeared to be in on the plan as well.