Bellator MMA fighter and commentator Chael Sonnen was recently a guest on the Talk Is Jericho podcast. During the interview, Sonnen dspoke to Chris Jericho about the possibility of WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar returning to the UFC.
Lesnar's contract with WWE ends soon and he was recently pictured with UFC president Dana White, so there are rumors that he could return to the company soon. But Sonnen says it's not that simple because of Lesnar testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs after his last fight in July 2016. Because of the positive test, Lesnar has to serve a one-year suspension, but that time has frozen since he announced his retirement from MMA. If he decides to come back, he will need to serve the remainder of the suspension before he can compete again. Sonnen said he thinks it'll be hard for the UFC to get behind a guy that has to sit for an extended period of time, so he doesn't see Lesnar returning to the company.
"He's jammed up on that. I do not believe he can return to the UFC. He got popped and had to serve a year. To serve that year you have to stay in that pool. The last thing he wants is to be tested, particularly when he is not competing. He said that he was retired, so that took him out of the pool, but at the same time that stopped his suspension clock. So, let's just say for math that he stayed for 4 months, he has a 12 month suspension, he stays for 4, great, when you want to come back you are going to serve your 8 months, and since you are a past offender you are going to give us 6 months of clean tests," Sonnen said. "So, if Brock Lesnar comes back, and I don't think Vince McMahon understands this, yes, having leverage in your negotiation is a good thing, as a matter of fact that is the only thing that helps during a negotiation, which is leverage. Dana White is more than willing to help him out on the off chance that Brock is serious. Dana White is a mark as well. The only real professional here is that if Brock were to come back, he's going to have to sit for 14 months. You can't sit and promote a guy that's sitting for 14 months. Do you think Brock Lesnar is going to sit there and do nothing for 14 months? Not going to happen. If I'm not mistaken he is 40, 41 years old."
Sonnen also discussed former WWE champion CM Punk, who is now a UFC fighter. Punk lost his UFC debut in embarrassing fashion via first-round submission, but Sonnen thinks he shouldn't be ridiculed for it. Sonnen commended Punk for following his dreams of competing in MMA and not giving up after he lost. He doesn't necessarily think Punk will be successful when he returns to the octagon, but he thinks people should be supportive of him because of how he didn't give up.
"Let's start at the beginning here, because this part of the story never gets told. CM Punk is going to come to UFC and what is he going to do? He's going to do what Brock Lesnar did. He's going to come in, take all the main event spots and go on with all this money and laugh at the rest of us. Well, not so fast. He dropped CM Punk and brought him in as Phil Brooks. Second, he committed everything to this. He left professional wrestling. I understand he had a few reasons to leave, but he locked himself in a gem with a room filled with killers, amongst the best coach in Duke Roufus, with an awesome facility. He cuts the weights, he gets disciplined, he gets the walk. That is something people in all walks of life should be able to relate to. Here is a bucket list item. Here is a guy who has the ability to pursue his dream and he has the courage and the balls to do it with his shirt off in front of the entire world and be able to pull it off. That was a very cool thing that he did, instead of course people teased him," he said. "He didn't leave with all the money, he didn't hold Dana White over a barrel. He really wanted to do this. He wanted to prove to people that he can do this and wasn't going to hold Dana White over for more money. The first contract he was offered, he signed. His heart was in the right place, As a competitor he did everything right. Then, he loses, so what does he do? He locks himself in the gym again, he begs again for another opportunity and he gets it. Quite frankly, the song is not going to end any differently than the first one, but if people can't get on board, see him around town, or talk to him on social media and tell him that it was a cool, ballsy thing that he did, then I have no idea what is wrong with them. That is the bottom line. He did everything right. He did everything respectful, and he did help the boys. There was a little bit of jealousy when he came in because he can get on shows that some of the other guys couldn't. He had a lot of buzz around him. Why is he sitting at ESPN and I'm not? Because ESPN can get ratings with him."
If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.