That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who addressed Lesnar’s status after revealing several weeks ago that he wasn’t coming back to fight again and reigning heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier would instead face Stipe Miocic in a rematch at UFC 241 in September.
For the better part of the past year, Cormier had been pursuing a fight against Lesnar after the WWE superstar made a surprise appearance cage side at UFC 226 and ended up shoving the former two-time Olympian to begin promoting what was supposed to be an eventual showdown between the two of them.
Before Lesnar could fight again he had to re-enter the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) drug testing pool and serve out the remainder of a previous suspension for a violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy. Lesnar took care of all that and he was cleared to return as early as January but the fight against Cormier never came together.
White then abruptly announced that Lesnar opted to stay retired and would not be returning to the UFC.
Speculation began almost immediately that Lesnar spurned the UFC’s offer in part because all of the pay-per-view broadcasts have now moved under the ESPN umbrella as part of the company’s seven year deal with the Disney owned network and the financial incentives were no longer as great.
Lesnar was one of the UFC’s biggest draws during his previous stints with the promotion and he made a huge part of his paycheck from the back end of pay-per-view buys.
It turns out financial security was a big part of Lesnar’s decision making but White claims it had nothing to do with the UFC’s new pay-per-view structure but rather WWE CEO Vince McMahon doing everything in his power to keep the hulking heavyweight on his roster.
“That’s not why Brock Lesnar didn’t fight,” White told ESPN when asked if Lesnar rejected the UFC’s new pay-per-view model. “Brock Lesnar got a better deal is basically what happened for Brock.”
White scoffed at the idea that Lesnar and fellow UFC superstar Conor McGregor have refused to fight because of the financial restraints that now supposedly exists because the pay-per-view structure for the company has changed.
White says that couldn’t be further from the truth not to mention his declaration that the UFC’s pay-per-view business is doing just fine right now.
“That’s absolutely false and if you really look when we were on pay-per-view, we were on traditional pay-per-view, everybody was talking about how the pay-per-view business was dying. It’s dying and nobody can pull numbers anymore." White said.
“Really? We were still pulling five to seven million pay-per-view buys a year when we were on the dying, traditional pay-per-view. You can’t listen to any of this noise.”
As for Lesnar, after he notified the UFC that he wouldn’t be making his return, he almost immediately popped up on WWE television programming once again.
Lesnar is now expected to appear at the WWE’s latest show in Saudi Arabia dubbed “Super Showdown” on Friday and by all accounts he will continue his run in the professional wrestling company as the 41-year-old former champion has apparently put fighting behind him for good — or at least until it’s time to negotiate his next deal.