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5 Oz. of Pain on CBSSports.com: Criticism of Brock Lesnar defies logic

Sam Caplan’s weekly column for CBSSports.com is now available. This week, Caplan takes a look at Brock Lesnar’s UFC heavyweight title victory over Randy Couture during last weekend’s UFC 91 event. Since winning the title, Lesnar has come under fire from many loyal MMA fans who feel as though his victory has compromised the purity of the sport.

Caplan’s most notable complaint is that some of the same fans who complained that Kimbo Slice wasn’t facing top level competition early in his career are also complaining that it Lesnar is unfairly getting the opportunity to fight top-level competition early in his career.

“Many of those same purists who are crucifying Lesnar also crucified Kimbo Slice,” Caplan writes. “They ripped Slice repeatedly for failing to take on top 10 heavyweights while they scream about how Lesnar didn’t deserve to fight a world champion after only three fights. It appears that some of the critics are trying to have it both ways: They don’t want inexperienced, heavily promoted fighters to fight stiffs, yet they complain when they are given legitimate competition.”

Another position expressed by Caplan is his feeling that Lesnar is unfairly receiving criticism due to his past as a professional wrestler.

“It would appear Lesnar’s biggest fault is the fact that after graduating college he made a sound business decision to accept a multimillion-dollar offer from Vince McMahon and the WWE,” he began to state.

“For a 22-year-old world-class amateur wrestler, choosing a career path isn’t as easy as it might be for a projected first-round pick in baseball, basketball or football. There is no NFL of amateur wrestling.”

You can click here to read the article in its entirety.

39 COMMENTS
  • steve says:

    actually Kimbo wasn’t fighting top 30 competition, and Lesnar didn’t deserve a title shot after going 1-1 (although i understand from a business perspective why the UFC made the fight happen).

  • madiq says:

    Yeah, there’s certainly middle ground between “big fights” that justify the main event spot and purse, and the prestige that comes with fighting for a division’s top title. A guy like Jon Fitch had to win 8 fights in the UFC for the opportunity, and guys like Werdum win multiple title eliminators, but are held back because of lack of name recognition. Brock’s name recognition and marketability comes from the fact that his pro wrestling background and brash persona makes him a polarizing figure in a sport where “mixed martial artist” and “ultimate fighter” begin to be at odds, where the fanbase is concerned. Add in the fact that his raw physicality might buttress notions that technique loses out to brute force, which runs counter to the fundamental principles that helped to grow the sport in the first place.

    Kimbo Slice was a street-brawling, tough-looking dude who recognized that he needed to develop skills and technique to be a top-tier guy. Brock is a guy whose physical gifts hide the technique he undoubtedly has, and the fact that he experienced success against a grizzled veteran like Couture so early in his career suggests that all of that training and polish is overrated. That comes dangerously close to reinforcing notions that MMA is a glorified Toughman contest, where guys like Tank Abbot and Butterbean rule the roost, rather than technicians like the Gracies and Frank Shamrock.

    Alarmist? Probably. But definitely understandable.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “and guys like Werdum win multiple title eliminators”

    Ugh. Will everyone PLEASE stop bringing up Werdum? The dude went 2-2 in his UFC run. How the hell does that qualify him oh so much more for a title shot than Lesnar at 1-1?

    The only reason he was sniffing at a title shot was because the Heavyweight division at the time was thinner than wet toilet paper.

  • mattio says:

    He didn’t earn it, but he won anyway. What’s the problem? I think the people making a big deal about it after the fact are too emotional about the sport for their own good.

    That was so sad when they were calling up fighters going on ridiculous losing streaks to take on Kimbo. I am so glad the UFC didn’t pull that stuff with Lesnar. I’ll take the fast track to the top route over the pad his record fighting veterans turned cans with no chins route every time.

    The only thing I’m concerned about Lesnar is that until he beats a submission specialist, it’s way too soon to say he’s arrived.

  • Stan the Caddy says:

    “actually Kimbo wasn’t fighting top 30 competition”

    Top 30?? The dude wasn’t even fighting top 50 heavies….. All the Kimbo criticism was well deserved, imho, although usually directed at the wrong person. People were shitting on Kimbo but he was just doing what his employer asked of him.

  • ttttt says:

    If you cant see how 2-2 is greater than 1-1 you need some math help.

    If Brock didn’t fight in the WWE i don’t think anyone really would care. But sense he did fight in the WWE he get judged harsher and he not a very good fighter.

    Anyways i still hate Brock . When he proves himself against a true heavyweight i may like him but until then he sucks.

    The UFC needs to stop getting greedy cause it will ruin the sport.

  • JollyDV says:

    Sorry I can’t help myself. I do not have a degree in math but:

    2-2 and 1-1 records mean that both fighters have won 50% of their fights. While one fighter has 4 fights in the UFC and the other only 2 fights, they both have a 50% win ratio.

  • ACK! says:

    Excellent article. Every point was extremely well made. Lesnar’s not only a champion but he has the potential to be a great champion and overall figure for the sport. There’s no legitimate reason at this point for any true fan of the sport to not support that.

    As for Lesnar growing the sport, there is no doubt about that here in Minnesota… I used to be one of the few diehard MMA fans around and most of my friends and family were dumbfounded when I told then I had plans to watch some fights any given weekend. Ever since UFC 87 here in Minneapolis everyone is keenly aware of Lesnar and the UFC. There have even been semi-regular articles about Lesnar in the local papers, which is about the only MMA coverage I’ve seen.

  • RJA says:

    I can’t stand brock either esspecially after his over the top WWE antics after the herring fight.But he did beat a highly decorated fighter in couture.So i guess he did deserve the fight,that doesn’t mean you have to agree with it or not but the fact remains,he won.Kimbo never fought anyone with half of randys skillset.That being said i may be bias ,but i think randy would have one if he could of avoided a big shot.But i guess thats irrelevant.We’ll just have to wait for either nogs or mir to kick his ass.

  • king mah mah says:

    Lesnar won fair and square. It’s that simple. But what really amazed me in the fight was how well Randy did the first round and a half. He proved that he is still capable of fighting for quite some time.

  • DUH says:

    You people are idiots. Learn to spell. Let’s tackle the English language before you take on Brock and Kimbo.

  • kmac says:

    Lesner completely deserves to be champ, right now. Time will tell if he has the goods to compete at this level, but thefact remains he KO’ed the champ.

    So say, “it’s only cause of his size” is to ignore Randy’s made a career out of beating fighter bigger faster and younger than him. Brock is evolving and maturing as a fighter before our eyes. his first fight showed the raw speed and power. the second, he learned patience and disipline. The third showed he can take some damage as well. The next step for him is some serious submission defense, as he will need it against either Mir or Nog.

    No matter how you slice it, he cleanly beat the guy with the belt. Call him what he is: Champ.

  • matthew says:

    many seem to forget the list of other fighters who fought for the title without a significant mma record. *cough* Randy*cough*. Your bias purely comes from the fact that he was in the fake shit. Get over it. He just beat the HW champ. If you don’t like him, great. But failure to admit he’s proven to be good in a short period of time is ridiculous.

    Brock is great for this sport. I never watched WWE as, in Australia, it’s considered “piss-weak” and there is no market for it. But Brock is an amazing addition to HW roster. His imposing figure provides a serious tactical challenge to those with more experience (as we saw with Randy). Those who made comment about him fighting a submission specialist are also correct. If he does in fact beat Nog (forget Mir people. Please), he will be a menacing HW champion. As i agree with Sam that there a few out there (apart from Nog) who are in a position to beat him at this present time.The day will come though as many prospects have yet to fully develop at HW. Brock is not invincible.

    P.S : And i’m more than happy to eat my words and publicly apologize if Mir by some freak accident does happen to defeat Nog. If anyone’s credibility is to be questioned over the quality of fighters they defeated to get a title shot, It’s Mir. Go look at it. It’s pathetic.

  • jimbo says:

    What about the obvious? this dude is juicing his nuts off. He might be doing it just right so it wont show in his pre & post fight tests but there is no way hes not puttin the needle in his ass!! Look at his college photos then his wwe & now. He is a big ass guy but you just physically can not be that big & lean with out roids.

  • jim says:

    Um, I disagree Jimbo…and its from experience. I’ll admit it – I used in college. I was 255 at 6’1″. Over the next 5 years I kept working out but didn’t juice up any more – I leaned down to 210. I lost definition and mass but I was healthy and leaner. He leaned out about the same – dropping about 30 lbs but working out like a madman full-time. I can’t say he is or isn’t but its possible.

  • Ian says:

    Once again Sam, you’ve emulated thoughts via the written word.

    If Brock Lesnar had come straight out of College to MMA instead of Wrestling, he’d be afforded much more respect. You can not discount his collegiate record just because he did a side show in the WWE. Nor can you discount his size, athleticism and drive.

    I’m not a Lesnar “fan” for a lot of reasons, but one thing I’m also not, is obstinate to the fact’s of any given situation. Brock Lesnar is a force to be reckoned with in the UFC heavyweight division.

  • Glen McCoy says:

    Dan Severan and Ken Shamrock were in the old wwf, I believe they are both Hall of Fame in Ufc as well as WWE.

  • Shotokan BJJ says:

    Fools will always be fools, Slice faced stiffs and he was nothing but a tug, now the fans are screaming because an overhyped fighter is facing real competition with Top 15 fighters like Herring and Mir and Top 5 fighter like Couture? Whiners will always be whiners, it matters little if he deserved or not the title shot, that mini-gp was the best thing the UFC has done for the division in years, and he won, so cry more noobs, he is the real deal, the next big thing, or whatever slogan you might wanna put into it.

    The guy had a massive record of 160-5 in wrestling, to make a living he decided to go work in the sports entertaining industry, an industry as a MMA fan I think it looks ridiculous, specially considering they make more money than REAL fighters, it was either work in that, live in poverty or get a desk job somewhere, he took the WWE job, then one month shy of his 30th birthday he made his MMA debut, and it was one crazy ride from there in these last two years, he continues to get better at an age where fighters are beginning to retire or decline and he is way better at each fight, and guess what, he is now also a Top 10, so really cry noobs!

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Lesnar vs. Nog 2009,will settle everything…for a month or so.

  • Anon says:

    Hey you know what? If you don’t like Lesnar, LEAVE the MMA scene altogether. The sport is better without people like that. Lesnar is bringing in far more fans than he is making you “old school” (in a sport around for what? 10 years? There is NO OLD SCHOOL) fans snivel and whine, so the sport will grow perfectly well without you.

  • blake says:

    As an ex-wrestler and avid fan of wrestling (the real stuff), I always pull for wrestlers in MMA, and think it’s great that Lesnar is the champ. I wonder how his bjj is coming along…scary thought, that.

  • DamonO says:

    I would like to see Lesnar fight Gonzaga. I would’t be surprised if that was what it comes down to sooner or later.

  • Danny Boy says:

    how can you say brock hasnt fought legitimate comp? the undertaker is dangerous, and so is bill goldberg. they could both hold thier own with fedor or couture.

  • dpk says:

    The great thing about MMA is that hype gets smashed all the time, and these guys have to prove themselves or they are exposed. Especially in UFC you always see the best fighters in a division fighting each other. Personally if I’d been Joe Silva and Dana White I would have given Werdum the shot at 91 against Randy, and put Lesnar in with someone like Kongo. Then when I had the mini tourney final, I would have put Lesnar against either Gonzaga or the Mir/Nog loser and positioned him for a title shot after that, because if he could have won those fights there would have been no questions about his ability.

    Honestly I’ve been on the Lesnar band wagon since I heard he was going to fight in MMA, and I love that he is the Champ right now, I think he is going to be great for the sport in the long run.

  • MMAFANATIK says:

    Everyone is saying that brock lesner did not diserve to fight Rany Coutour.but yet he won the fight in 2 rounds.shouldnt he get respect for doing that. he is good for the industry he gets main stream media to talk about the sport and more people buy the ppv.and the people that always are talking all there smack is these die hard pride fans.get over it pride is dead

  • HexRei says:

    so, how do we make an account to log in?

  • Lyle Howard Seave says:

    >Ugh. Will everyone PLEASE stop bringing up Werdum?
    >The dude went 2-2 in his UFC run.

    I know how you feel.
    The UFC has been pimping this old bald fart who was 4-5 during a stretch.
    4-5 is below .500 so that made Couture BELOW average.

    As for Cote, what did he start with ? 0-4? And he got a title shot?

    Wait…I dont know how you feel. Werdum’s record was better than the other two Dona White fellaters.

    Dont be mad that a guy with 20mins ring experience got a title shot, they did it the previous month with Cote.

    The UFC is not about getting the best fighters together, its about getting the fights they think can generate the best storylines with the fighters who keep their mouths shut and agree to fight for 14,000$ for a main event.
    That’s what the UFC does best.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “The UFC has been pimping this old bald fart who was 4-5 during a stretch.
    4-5 is below .500 so that made Couture BELOW average.”

    If you look at it objectively… and I love Couture…

    He was 0-2 in his last two HW fights, going into his Interim LHW title shot against Liddell. Then he was 1-2 in his last three LHW fights going into his HW title shot against Sylvia.

    I’ve said it before and others have stated it as well: if Lesnar never stepped into a WWE right, he wouldn’t catch almost any flack from you people.

  • islandguy666 says:

    Look.. Lesnar is HW champ but he has not fought any of the best heavies. People get mad when they feel that there is an injustice.. Admittedly the HW ranks are thin in the UFC. Let him beat Nog.. even Gonzaga. Werdum… wait he’s gone. Couture is not a heavyweight fighter… and he’s old. The idea that this was some kind of “super fight” was purely a marketing ploy.. Like Oritz – Shamrock.. bullshit.

    The UFC has got to sign some legitimate HW contenders and if Brock can beat them then everyone will shut up.

  • blah says:

    Those same fans also accused the Kimbo/Cantrell fight of being rigged because of Cantrell going down to a “weak” shot behind the ear, but said nothing of Couture going down to an equally “weak” shot from Lesnar.

    Hypocritical Bastards! All of Them!

    Lesnar will always be in a lose-lose situation regardless of who he fights. If he loses it’s “Ha ha, he lost to someone way smaller than he is. What a bitch.” If he wins it’s “So what…. he was fighting someone way smaller than he is. What a bitch.” If he wasn’t so damn rich, I’d kind of feel bad for the guy.

  • Juelz says:

    UFC is just as much entertainment as WWE is… This is what you get when you don’t have legit title contenders and rankings… I don’t know about you but i want to see that the champion earned the right to call himself that.
    Brock Lesnar didn’t earn it. If he would have fought more top competition and won and actually established himself as the #1 contender for the title i wouldn’t have a problem with it.
    He was 2-1 with one big win over Herring who wasn’t even ranked top 10 at many lists, and he gets a title shot. Everyone knows that he got that titleshot cause of his name and he got his name from what he accomplished in WWE not in MMA.

    His talent and abilities doesn’t matter if this was the case there would be a lot more champions with 3-1 records. In Sport there shouldn’t be any fasttracks to a titleshot you will have to earn it.
    I’m pretty sure he would beat Randy 8/10 times but that has nothing to do with it, He got fasttracked for his name and cause this fight would make alot of money for the UFC.

    UFC is WWE but for real… It’s still entertainment until there will be legit matchups based on your accomplishments in the sport and not about your name recognition. I want to see it as a sport but sometimes UFC pull some of this shit and it just get’s turned into a circus.
    Brock Lesnar is a clown champion in my mind he don’t deserve to be champion just yet. He would probably be some day but he shouldn’t be right now.
    And stop comparing him with Kimbo…. Kimbo got alot of shit because he fought bums and yet had alot of hype around him. If Kimbo would have fought for the UFC title with his record i would be just as pissed of .
    Hype = Titleshot hmm is that logic ?

  • Big Dave says:

    Ok people lets all just take a breath and look at this from a logical perspective.
    You are all getting mad that Lesnar got a title shot with little experience, well i dont believe that to be true. Couture was a paper champ at this point, he was out for 15 months and the title should have been fully stripped from him. Nog won the interm title and in my opinion is the true hw champ atm. Randy is no longer a top 5 heavy, he needs to go back to 205 or reitire altogether. as for lesnar i think his next fight needs to be against either gonzaga or mir( who btw is gonna lose very easily to nog) then if he can win that fight he can get his first REAL title shot against Nog who yes is the real hw champ until someone beats him. Unfortunatly Couture is now living as champ by his name alone but in reality his time is gone.

    With all that being said im in no way a fan of Lesnar, his attitude sucks and he is dumb as a fence post but hell he is a fighter and a scary one at that. i cant argue his ability i mean the guy went 106-5 as a college wrestler which is insane and he ha done nothing but look better in each fight he has been in. he dominated Mir till he got caught in the heelhook. He beat Herring like he owed him money, and he effectively ended randys hw career by absolutely knocking him the fuck out.

    So there are the facts as i see then agree or disagree. As for bimbo Slice well he can go back to beating up crackheads in his ghetto backyard and let real men fight. Bas Rutten you sullied you reputation by ever aligning yourself with that useless waste of skin. Fight Sean gaggnon again and get you ass kicked by him for a second time.

  • Imbecile says:

    Great job, Sam! Dead on with this piece.

    People need to realize Lesnar is a talented athlete who is working very hard to be a complete mixed martial artist. I personally would have him as a slight favorite over nearly any fighter in the world today, and that includes Fedor and Nog. Most would disagree, but I think the physical tools Lesnar brings are tremendous. He is dangerous to any and all opponents, and for that reason alone, we should respect him in this sport.

  • ACK! says:

    @Big Dave: Have you ever met Lesnar? You call him as dumb as a fence post, so I’m assuming you have some insider information to back that up…

    Actually, I have met Lesnar and he’s as nice of a guy as you’re likely to meet. Saying his attitude sucks is simply untrue… He’s like a big jolly teddy bear from what I’ve seen. Seriously, he’s constantly grinning, cracking jokes, laughing… The only evidence to the contrary is that he was a heel in the WWE and that he knows how to get under guy’s skins. Also, you’re selling his intelligence short. He’s actually a smart guy who works very hard and believes in what he does. Give him a break.

  • PoMoPunchDrunk says:

    Everybody is annoyed because they saw this coming. Me, much like most MMA fans LOVE Randy Couture. Even though we didn’t want to listen to that part of our brain telling us that Lesnar would win, it was there all along. Couture is a hall of famer, but what nobody is really talking about is how a man of his age, who has been knocked out countless times, would be able to absorb punches like that. Much like you see in football, where your favourite player has had concussion problems, it takes less and less of a hit, to render them unconscious. This isn’t anyone’s fault, but there was no way Couture could handle those hits. Does everyone forget his fights with Liddel? One of those knockouts was a half right from Liddel. Brock was given this match-up by the UFC, won it, and deserves to be champion. That said, I do not think he could have one that fight against someone not as prone to a knockout. We’ll see what happens when the rest of the Heavyweight division gets a crack at him, but for now, let the man enjoy the fruits of his hardwork. Nobody gets mad at Peyton Manning when the NFL puts him against the Oakland Raiders and he torches them for 5 TD’s. Congratulations Brock, you beat a legend, now define your own legacy by continuing to improve and shutting us all up.

  • Richie says:

    “Anyways i still hate Brock . When he proves himself against a true heavyweight i may like him but until then he sucks.”

    Please tell this moron to shut up!.. RANDY COUTURE is THE TRUE heavyweight of the sport and Lesnar won by TKO. I would think that means Lesnar is a legit heavyweight. He is not the best but will soon be. Any body with that size, power, skills in wrestling, and can move faster then the majority of heavyweights deserve a shot at the title. He proved that he deserved a title shot and guess what? yea thats right.. he won and no holds the belt.

    And FYI.. Lesnar was 2-1 before the fight againist Randy and now is 3-1. Get your facts straight before you speak.

  • Eggbert says:

    Here are the facts. This fight was between two mma warriors of a different weight class. If you pit two guys against each other and one weighs in at 265-285 and is in superb shape and the other weighs in at 215-220 and is in superb shape…..helllo……doesn’t take much to figure out that they belong in different weight classes…that is if you want a fair fight to occur. Look, nobody is more old school than I am, and I also am a great fan of inter-weight matches but let’s just call the match what it is, a fight between two fighters from different weight classes.

  • Robert says:

    The fight was between 2 heavyweights.What do you want to split the heavyweight division now because Randy lost? I’ve heard other people bring this up and all it is are a bunch of disgruntled fans who are upset because their hero lost in his return to the UFC. Nothing has to be done with the heavyweight division if a cruiserweight division was created like boxing it would do more harm than good there is already a lack of quality heavyweights.I remember when there were only 2 weight classes over 200 was heavyweight and under 200 lbs. was considered lightweight that’s it.

  • Perfecto says:

    Ok “ttttt” to say randy the man who dethroned Silvia who had the title for years is not a true heavywieght is ignorant. Brock got the fight because he is good not because he has a pretty record or he is advertised well he is just good. Anyone who has watched MMA should see he is good. If you think Brock should have fought more people first my question is who? Who do you want him to fight the Randy hasnt or couldnt beat. Randy was the best match up.
    And by the way this isnt English class.

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