Brock Lesnar's antics after stopping Frank Mir in the second round of their Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title match Saturday in Las Vegas did not escape the notice of perhaps the most popular mixed martial arts fighters ever.
Five-time UFC champion Randy Couture, who will headline UFC 102 on Aug. 29 against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in Portland, Ore., was appalled by Lesnar's words and actions following his win over Mir at UFC 100.
Lesnar got into Mir's face as doctors were attending to him, made an obscene gesture to the crowd, ridiculed one of the UFC's top corporate sponsors and spoke of having sex with his wife.
After being confronted by an extraordinarily angry UFC president Dana White, Lesnar apologized at the postfight news conference.
Couture, who watched the fight on television, said he was stunned by what he saw.
"I don't know what the heck the postfight antics were all about," Couture said. "[Maybe] he lost his mind, I don't know. It's certainly not what we need in this sport. As the biggest representative of the sport as the heavyweight champion, it was not a great display of sportsmanship or anything else. I don't know if he got caught up in the WWE mode or what it was.
"I'm sure he offended Bud Light and he certainly offended a lot of other people. I'm surprised he didn't offend his wife, though she didn't seem to mind at all. I don't know."
Couture was impressed by the improvement he saw in Lesnar, not only from his loss to Mir 17 months earlier in his UFC debut at UFC 81 but also from Lesnar's title-winning effort over him at UFC 91 in November.
Lesnar is 6 feet, 4 inches and cuts down about 25 to 30 pounds to make the UFC's heavyweight limit of 265 pounds. His size and brute strength are clearly going to be an issue for all future opponents, but Couture said Lesnar is more than just a big, strong man.
"Technically, he obviously showed some improvement," Couture said. "He was much more controlling. He played position with Mir, which he didn't do the first time. That was the difference in the fight. He didn't get overextended. He didn't get overaggressive. He picked his shots and made them count a lot more in the first fight or even the fight with me. I think, as we expected, he's going to continue to show improvement each and every time he steps out there."
Couture, who said he hoped to get a rematch and that he felt he could win, conceded Lesnar's mass would make him a difficult match for any heavyweight, even the man widely viewed as the most gifted in the world, Fedor Emelianenko.
Emelianenko, who is preparing to fight Josh Barnett on Aug. 1 in Anaheim, Calif., is the more technically sound fighter. But Lesnar has far better wrestling skills than Emelianenko. If they ever fought and Lesnar could take the 230-pound Emelianenko down, it would be a big problem for the popular Russian, Couture concedes.
"I think, certainly, you would give the technical nod to Fedor, but the physicality that Brock brings to a fight is going to be an issue for anybody," Couture said. "He's a big guy who moves real well. Standing in front of him and being hit by him, being underneath him and being hit by him, they're not places anyone wants to be. Figuring out ways to solve that problem is going to be the question for anybody – Fedor or anybody else."
Before we get to your questions and comments, I'd like to remind you to follow me on Twitter. You can ask me questions for the mailbag there as well.
And with that, let's dip into the mailbag for a bunch of UFC questions, comments and reaction.
There seems to be three potential #1 contender fights coming up in the UFC's heavyweight division: Couture-Nogueira at UFC 102, Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic-Junior dos Santos at UFC 103 and Shane Carwin-Cain Velasquez at UFC 104. I would think Couture and dos Santos have the least likely chance of getting a title fight if they happen to win their respective fights. Of the remaining four, I think Carwin or Cain will have a better shot at beating Lesnar than Nog or Cro Cop. However, the fact that Cro Cop is even back in the UFC leads me to believe that he's on the fast track to the title if he wins. Or do you think White can pull off the miracle and sign Fedor after Fedor's fight with Barnett? What are your thoughts on how the division will pan out for the rest of the year?
Emelianenko would instantly be the top man on the list were he to sign with the UFC. Assuming that does not happen, I believe whoever looks better coming out of the Couture-Nogueira and Carwin-Velasquez fights would get the nod. Mir isn't the kind of wrestler that Couture, Carwin and Velasquez are, so that would change things. Lesnar couldn't simply take those guys down at will and pound on them the way he did Mir.
I am sure you will be flooded with anti-Brock emails, but here is a pro-Brock email. This guy is unreal. The way he manhandled Mir was amazing. It was a total ground-and-pound clinic. It truly showed how overpowering this guy is and right now, I cannot see anyone really threatening this guy. It begs the question though, does he no longer equal main event status in pay-per-view terms? I am just not sure, similar to the way Mike Tyson was in boxing long ago, if it will be worth $50 for many people to watch Lesnar destroy someone else at will. Is his dominance a hindrance? Or will the chance that someone can beat him be enough? As for his antics, whatever. If the fans want an ambassador, let them worship Couture or Georges St. Pierre. They need to let Brock be Brock and sit back and enjoy the carnage. I know I will.
Lesnar is going to be a pay-per-view monster, David. There are many, many Lesnar fans and they'll continue to support him. And there are just as many who hate him and want to see him lose and those fans will buy in the hope of seeing him thrashed. He's already the No. 1 pay-per-view attraction in the sport and that is only going to increase. My feeling about his postfight antics is that the comments about the sponsors were over the line. Bud Light's sponsorship is helping all the fighters do better, including Lesnar, who with all his bonuses factored in made several million dollars. I feel his other actions were tasteless, but some people liked them. In that regard, to each his own.
Brock Lesnar is a piece of garbage regardless of his fighting skills. I'm sure he angered Anheuser Busch/Bud Light, the fans by flipping them off then women by being so disgusting to say he would go home and "get on top" of his wife. What a pig! Get behind a class act like Dan Henderson, not a disgusting, chauvinistic waste of space! Don't perpetuate his narcissistic "he man" behavior. I'm a woman and I understand boys are boys, but I was outraged by all the things he did after the fight, particularly the comment about his wife. If I were his wife, I would have knocked him out for saying that. He's an idiot. Writers such as yourself make it worse by glorifying his behavior. He is not a good representative of UFC and I hope they make him apologize to Mir and the fans. He is UFC's champion and should act like it.
Don't blame me, Renee. I didn't glorify it and I don't like it. You have the ultimate veto power as a fan. You can refuse to buy tickets or pay-per-views on cards he's on. If enough people feel the same way, he'll get the picture.
Brock Lesnar is a physically dominant champ. But given his lack of sportsmanship at UFC 100, I won't call him a great champion. Yeah, I know it's good for ratings, etc., but I still think the guy's a jerk. They both badmouthed each other leading up to the fight, but when the fight was over, the trash talking should have stopped. Lesnar had no business verbally degrading a bloody, fallen Mir after that fight. It would behoove him to take a lesson from such rivalries as B.J. Penn-Jens Pulver, Tito Ortiz-Ken Shamrock and Matt Hughes/Matt Serra. In each of those examples, after the dust settled, all three sets of fighters put their personal animosity for the other aside and buried the hatchet. That's what you call class. Brock Lesnar needs a huge dose of that before he can be called a great UFC champion.
Lesnar's an emotional guy and I think he got tuned by even more A) by the fact he lost a fight at UFC 81 he felt he should have won and B) by the trash talk that went back and forth. I've heard that White went crazy in the locker room after Lesnar's antics and may have kicked in a stall door in a bathroom while making his point. It will be interesting to see how Lesnar reacts next time after that little episode.
There is nothing worse than bad sportsmanship. I will stick with the World Extreme Cagefighting. The fighters show good sportsmanship and have brains in their head. Too bad for the fighters like St. Pierre in the UFC that some overgrown butthead is now the face of the organization. He's not the face of the sport itself, just the UFC. It won't be long before a rival company takes over. It's too bad the WEC is owned by the same company as the UFC and dropped its upper weight classes.
There are a lot of great fighters in the WEC, but I'd point out to you that trash talk and bad behavior is not just limited to the UFC. You're going to find it everywhere, in every sport. One of the great things about MMA is that more than 90 percent of the athletes are respectful and are gentlemen, but asinine behavior is hardly the sole province of the UFC. As for a rival company taking over, I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.
During GSP's successful title defense over Thiago Alves on Saturday, he suffered an injury to his groin. I'm a little curious why some injuries end matches while others do not. Off the top of my head, I can recall Tim Sylvia's broken arm and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's dislocated elbow as two injuries that resulted in stoppages. What about GSP's leg injury? And what about broken hands, most recently by Uriah Faber in his WEC title fight against Mike Brown? Is it the nature of the injury, the manner in which the damage was inflicted or a combination of the two? Sylvia's arm and Rua's elbow were both injured using valid martial arts techniques (arm bar and a double-leg takedown), while GSP's leg and Faber's hand were not. Thanks, and keep up the great work covering MMA.
If you didn't hear St. Pierre tell his corner he was injured, would you have known he was hurt? I certainly couldn't tell. But the call is made when the referee determines whether a fighter can adequately protect himself. How could Sylvia have protected himself with his forearm snapped in two? He could not have. Nor could Rua. But Faber, by contrast, proved he could. He had an offensive weapon he couldn't use, but he was able to compete and intelligently defend himself. That's the line.
Do you think Michael Bisping will recover from that brutal knockout at UFC 100? The brain damage would be bad enough, but something like that can have a major psychological effect.
I think Bisping will recover, but it varies by fighter. Some get extremely gun-shy and Bisping will be worth watching closely. And given we're talking that fight, I was outraged by Henderson taking that extra shot. It was obvious Bisping was out cold and when fighters land a shot like that, they know. Henderson leaped in the air and cracked Bisping before referee Mario Yamasaki could get in. That's exactly the kind of senseless, thoughtless move that gives ammunition to the anti-MMA crowd. And Henderson's comment in the cage condoning the shot was reprehensible. White defended him at the news conference, but Henderson is a veteran and has to be held accountable for that. It was horrible.
I watched UFC 100 with some friends. The first televised match started with a lot of blood on the mat, but there was no mention of what happened and we never saw the fight that caused it. Any insight?
Jim Miller took Mac Danzig down and cut him badly with an elbow. That's what you saw on the canvas.