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Muscle Sport Magazine

Cain Velasquez Earned UFC Title, But Brock Lesnar is a Bigger Draw

From a marketing standpoint, having Brock Lesnar drop the strap to Cain Velasquez was not the best case scenario for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The former WWF superstar may not have been the quintessential mixed martial artist, but he attracted a mainstream sports audience and gave the UFC more coverage in the media. Perhaps it’s the tattoos, the showmanship or the attitude, but Lesnar arguably brings in a bigger crowd than anyone else in the sport of MMA.

The hardcore MMA fan was not surprised that the more polished Velasquez – who remained undefeated – was able to figure out what everyone else knew but have been unable to execute, that Lesnar was beatable if you kept him on his feet. He may have outweighed Velasquez by 20 pounds but Lesnar’s boxing skills are not quite up to his wrestling capabilities. Velasquez was able to get back up after Lesnar took him down and basically have his way with the Minnesota native.

For all intents and purposes, Velasquez beat the shit out of Lesnar, plain and simple. The main event at UFC 121 ended in the first round when the referee stopped the fight and a new heavyweight champion was crowned. But was more lost that night other than a belt on a fighter with only six previous bouts?

It is tough to admit, but the UFC is better off with a champion like Lesnar. He was a very well-known name and one that the casual or mainstream sports fan was familiar with. Now, if you ask the MMA crowd what they think, they will tell the fringe fan to go fuck him or herself and leave the cage to the real followers of the sport. But in this era, money talks and there will be less Pay-Per-View orders without Lesnar topping the card. A guy like Velasquez will be loved by the loyal UFC fans, but the guy watching Monday Night Football who catches a UFC show now and then will forget his name the day after the fight.

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The regular UFC fan will order the Pay-Per-View time in and time out, so that is really not the target audience if you are thinking outside of the box. What the UFC’s goal needs to be is to broaden that number and having someone like Lesnar to sell tickets and orders was a gold mine for them. Velasquez may be the better fighter and a more deserving champion, but his name and face will not have the same effect as Lesnar’s. There’s no argument there.

Perhaps a quick rematch makes sense for sales purposes, but it is not the best move for the long term. One has to figure that Velasquez would defat Lesnar again, so the gain would be minimal. Lesnar needs to be used to the best of his abilities and build his record – and reputation – back up. Down the road, Lesnar getting more experience to broaden his game will only help his chances of regaining the title.

And that will be a huge payday for him and the UFC.

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