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Dana White claims Brock Lesnar snubbed UFC for better WWE deal, not because of PPV points

UFC 200: Tate v Nunes Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Fight fans were thrown for a loop a few months back when it was revealed that WWE superstar Brock Lesnar will not be returning to the Octagon after all. That’s because rumors spread like wildfire late last year that put Lesnar in a title fight with UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at some point in 2019.

Now that Lesnar is no longer part of the equation, Cormier will face former UFC champion Stipe Miocic in a rematch at UFC 241 this August.

More importantly, Lesnar will not be brought back into the fold to take part in UFC’s new partnership with ESPN. Many people believed Lesnar’s decision to stay with WWE had something to do with UFC’s new PPV model on ESPN+, but UFC president Dana White was more than willing to clear the air earlier this week in a sit down with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.

“That’s not why Brock Lesnar didn’t fight,” White said when asked if Lesnar’s decision had anything to do with the new PPV system. “Brock Lesnar got a better deal is basically what happened for Brock.”

While WWE likely did everything to hold onto Lesnar, who remains one of the company’s biggest draws, UFC may not have done enough to attract the former heavyweight champion back over to MMA. That’s why fight fans believe the new PPV system had something to do with it.

White, who explained that the promotion is relying on superstars more than ever to help propel the new ESPN deal, refused to believe that Lesnar, along with the recently-retired Conor McGregor, is not returning to action due to the financial uncertainty of the new model.

“That’s absolutely false,” White said. “And if you really look when we were on pay-per-view, we were on traditional pay-per-view, everybody was talking about how the pay-per-view business was dying. It’s dying and nobody can pull numbers anymore.

“Really? We were still pulling five to seven million pay-per-view buys a year when we were on the dying, traditional pay-per-view. You can’t listen to any of this noise.”

Given how new the UFC-ESPN deal is it’s really difficult to gauge the long-term effects it will have on the fighters, especially the top-tier superstars who are used to banking massive PPV points for selling fights. It will be a work in progress from here on out, but one that will not include the likes of Lesnar, and even McGregor for now.

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