by Irvin Muchnick
Along with the Trump presidential candidacy and various other examples that have become cliches of contemporary culture-crit, the resolution of Brock Lesnar’s little … brush with orthodoxy … in not making himself available for performance-enhancing-drug tests in a timely fashion prior to UFC 200 offers proof that pro wrestling is more real than reality.
This tempest in a urination cup resolved meekly yesterday with UFC’s unsurprising announcement that Lesnar had, indeed, been granted a “waiver” from the four-month unretirement notice provision of a drug policy promulgated in association with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). Friendly news sites — some of which, like Ariel Helwani’s MMAfighting.com, are on UFC’s payroll (more below) — mostly ran the UFC statement intact without comment.
The long and short of it is that everything with Lesnar’s July 9 booking at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas remains peachy-keen. Sure, Brock is subject to USADA-supervised out-of-competition testing for 36 days, rather than the required 120, but so what? He has a “waiver.”
The funniest part of the UFC statement is about the organization’s diligence in “educating” Lesnar on the drug policy going forward. UFC even put its “senior vice president for athlete health and performance,” Jeff Novitsky — a revolving door from the federal Food and Drug Administration — on a plane to Saskatchewan to huddle over the weekend with Lesnar and his team. Presumably, this education consisted of asking the mayor of Suplex City if he would mind, pretty please, taking time off from his busy training camp to subject his pee-pee to random and unannounced testing.
In return for his cooperation, Lesnar will make millions to spice up UFC’s landmark event by stepping back inside the octagon to face fellow superheavyweight Mark Hunt. And Lesnar’s day-job employer, WWE, reportedly is getting rewarded with a chance to book UFC female stunner Paige VanZant — a mediocre mixed martial artist but a big recent hit on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars — for the August SummerSlam show.
Lesnar could come away from the Hunt slugfest with two literal black eyes. But the biggest, albeit figurative, black eye here belongs to USADA, which has proved yet again that it is just finger-wagging window-dressing, like a WWE referee.
UFC’s Dana White and the Fertitta brothers, like WWE’s Vince McMahon, fought the law, and the law lost.
Regarding MMA journalist Ariel Helwani: what a bunch of hot air. In the brouhaha over his lifetime ban by UFC for unauthorized “scoops” and his reinstatement 72 hours later, Helwani admitted that UFC wrote the checks for his contributions to FoxSports1’s MMA coverage. So the shill overstepped his boundaries by breaking the company embargoes on promo announcements. Now the shill is back. Just like Brock Lesnar.