MMA: The real reason WWE released Brock Lesnar for UFC 200

On the surface the WWE didn't have a lot to gain by releasing one of its biggest draws, Brock Lesnar, from his pro wrestling contract to compete in the UFC.

Sure there might be some cross-promotional opportunities, but putting "The Beast Incarnate" in the Octagon with a knockout artist like Lesnar's UFC 200 opponent Mark Hunt seemed a risky ploy.

Cop one on the chin and Lesnar's availability for the next WWE pay-per-view event, SummerSlam in New York on August 21, could be in jeopardy.

But as always, it appears WWE supremo Vince McMahon had an ulterior motive. Having witnessed the success of Ronda Rousey's appearance at WrestleMania 31 last year, the WWE plans to leverage the Lesnar deal to land more UFC starlets, according to Forbes.

"The details of how WWE and UFC arrived at an agreement as well as the full details of the agreement remains a mystery at this time but it appears the two companies have more in store aside from Lesnar competing at UFC 200 while still under a contract with WWE," Forbes reported.

"According to sources, WWE is hoping that by allowing Lesnar to compete at UFC 200 (and perhaps beyond) it will open the doors for some things in return from UFC. Mainly WWE is hopeful for two things in return.

"For one, they are hoping not only to get additional promotion for SummerSlam, likely at UFC 200, but are also looking to get UFC stars to appear at the event.

"WWE is also hopeful that they will be allowed to use Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida. While her in-ring segment at WrestleMania 31 with The Rock, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H was a memorable moment, WWE is hoping they can secure Rousey for an actual match at their biggest event of the year."

PWInsider.com reported the WWE has already reached out to the management of UFC fighter Paige VanZant - who became a crossover star after making the final of the US version of Dancing With The Stars last month - for a potential role at SummerSlam.

But if Lesnar is to be believed, his release was secured in far more simple fashion. During an appearance on ESPN's SportsCenter, the 38-year-old claimed that his UFC comeback was resolved with McMahon in unique fashion.

"I said, 'Listen, old man, we can do this the hard way or the easy way,'" said Lesnar, as reported by sherdog.com. "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."

Lesnar suggested his return to the Octagon would continue to legitimise professional wrestlers as athletes.

"In the WWE brand, I'm a legit athlete in that brand, and I bring lots to the company," he said. "For me to get back in the Octagon legitimises why the WWE has me in their company. It's a win for all of us."

- news.com.au

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