Brock Lesnar's Roller Coaster Ride
Two months ago, Brock Lesnar shocked the world by announcing his intent to return to MMA, by fighting at UFC200. Most assumed it would just be a fight against a sacrificial lamb, just to create a buzzworthy moment for UFC's big anniversary event.
But then, UFC went and named Brock's opponent: the 8th ranked heavyweight in the company, Mark Hunt. With one punch knock-out power, Hunt immediately became the favorite with bettors. When UFC had to scrap the show's planned main event due to Jon Jones' failed drug test, the smart money was on Lesnar getting his ass kicked, and suddenly, it was likely to take place in the main event.
Well, Lesnar/Hunt was only the planned main event for about 12 hours, before Dana White re-rejiggered everything... but on July 9, it was clearly the top attraction. And Brock Lesnar simply would not allow himself to be taken less than seriously by fight fans. The first and third rounds saw Lesnar take Hunt down to the mat and just own him. The second round saw Hunt circle, at a distance, to prevent a takedown; but also, it meant he never once threw, much less landed, any serious strikes. Lesnar was the winner by unanimous decision.
UFC showed promos for SummerSlam during their show, and Lesnar hyped his SummerSlam match against Randy Orton in the post-match press conference. All of a sudden, what could have been a disasterous loss was looking like a gold mine for WWE. They were getting a cross-over bad ass at the absolute zenith of crediblity!
But then, late last week, it was announced that the US Anti-Doping Agency had been testing Lesnar in the lead-up to UFC200, and among 8 pre-show tests, a single one (from June 28) came up showing a banned substance. Nobody has announced exactly what substance, and Lesnar has provided the media with documentation that all his other tests (most before June 28, but at least 2 after) were clean, making the single failure a bit of an anomaly. But unless Lesnar can definitively prove testing error or his innocence by other means, the ramifications could be huge.
On the UFC side, it's almost certain that his win would be changed to a "No Contest." And although Lesnar's $2.5 million payday was a guaranteed appearance fee and NOT a winner's purse, it's very likely UFC would seek the return of some of it. [Hunt has, rather foolishly, decided he should get the money, despite the fact that even if he had beaten Lesnar, exactly NONE of that money would have been taken away from Brock. That Brock was deemed worth $2.5 million, win or lose, is completely independent of how Hunt was compensated.]
But since you're here at OO, you care more about the WWE side... I know some other sites have made noise about how SummerSlam is taking place in NY State, and NY State regulates pro wrestling under the same body as MMA and boxing, and NY State honors all punishments and bans decided upon by USADA and the state of Nevada. Unless Brock can get these test results thrown out, you can bet on a lengthy suspension, which some wrestling newz sites believe means he wouldn't be able to wrestle at SummerSlam.
In a word: No. That's not how it works. NY State "regulates" pro wrestling in name only, so they can wet their beaks on a few extra fees and taxes. Brock would not require a valid fighter's license in order to perform on a pro wrestling show, which is subject only to the promotor having a valid license (which WWE does).
So that puts the ball squarely in WWE's court. They have openly acknowledged the news of Brock's test result on WWE.com. But so far, there is no indication on how they intend proceed. They could easily just do nothing, as Brock was not busted as part of their own Wellness Program. But the most they could do is put Brock's failed test under the umbrella clause that allows WWE to enforce punishment, at its discretion, if a talent is caught violating the Program by law enforcement or other governing bodies. In that case, the most WWE could do is a 30 day suspension for his first Wellness Violation. If issued this week, that means Lesnar would be active again in time for SummerSlam, and it'd be left in Paul Heyman's capable hands to hold up Brock's end of the feud against Orton.
With Lesnar scheduled to be at the Draft on Tuesday Night, my guess is we'll find out sooner than later what WWE intends to do with him.