The UFC was nervous leading up to what they are billing as the greatest MMA card of all-time, UFC 200 on July 9th, because despite the fact that the card was loaded with great matchups of MMA stars that the promotion’s regular fans would pay to see there was no cross-promotional star that was going to draw non-MMA fans or sometimes-MMA fans fans to the pay-per-view. Only a few UFC stars translate to a huge surge in pay-per-view numbers, because they draw non-MMA fans, and they are Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey. There was another fighter with huge crossover appeal due to the fact that he brings in a professional wrestling audience, a man named Brock Lesnar who had expressed a desire to return to mixed martial arts, and who happens to be a former UFC Heavyweight Champion. There was one problem, Brock Lesnar was under contract with the WWE with a built in non-compete clause, and Vince McMahon was not letting a star as big as Lesnar fight for the competition for free. It was announced on Saturday that Brock Lesnar would be returning at UFC 200, and it was announced on Monday that Lesnar would fight dangerous heavyweight Mark Hunt, so it became clear that Vince McMahon cut a deal with Dana White and the UFC to allow Lesnar to fight on the UFC 200 card. On SportsCenter this week Lesnar discussed how he approached McMahon:
“I said, ‘Listen, old man, we can do this the hard way or the easy way. I said, ‘Do you wanna arm-wrestle for it?’ and he’s like, ‘Yeah, what the hell.’ So, I ended up beating him, and here we are.”
Despite Lesnar joking about how the deal went down, Vince McMahon cut a deal with the UFC to allow Brock Lesnar to fight at UFC 200, and here is what McMahon is rumored to have received. The UFC will support WWE’s Summerslam pay-per-view, which takes place in August one day after UFC 202, despite the fact that in the past the UFC has been very hesitant to promote WWE events in the past. The WWE also expressed interest in UFC Women’s Strawweight fighter Paige Van Zant appearing at Summerslam in a non-match capacity. The final rumor was that Vince McMahon told Dana White that he’s interested in Ronda Rosey participating in a match at Wrestlemania next spring, Ronda Rosey is a huge fan of professional wrestling and has openly talked about a possible WWE career once she retires from MMA, but a Wrestlemania match would be impossible next year as Rousey will still be under contract with the UFC. The UFC was desperate to get Brock Lesnar on the UFC 200 card, and to do so, it seems that they owe Vince McMahon a few favors in the future.