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Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar

Brock Edward Lesnar (/ˈlɛznər/; born July 12, 1977) is an American professional wrestler,[13] and former mixed martial artist and professional football player currently signed to WWE, where he performs on its Raw brand.

After his successful amateur wrestling career at Bismarck State College and the University of Minnesota, Lesnar signed with WWE (then the World Wrestling Federation) in 2000. He was assigned to its developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he was a three-time OVW Southern Tag Team Champion with Shelton Benjamin. After debuting on WWE's main roster in 2002, Lesnar won the WWE Championship[1] five months after his debut at the age of 25, becoming the youngest champion in the title's history. Following his match with Goldberg at WrestleMania XX, Lesnar left WWE and pursued a career in the National Football League (NFL).[14] He was named a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings, but was cut prior to the start of the 2004 season.[15] In 2005, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling and signed with New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in his first match. After a contractual dispute with NJPW, he also wrestled as IWGP Heavyweight Champion in the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF).

In 2006, Lesnar pursued a career in mixed martial arts (MMA), as he signed with Hero's and won his first fight, against Min-Soo Kim, in June 2007.[16] He then signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) the following October. Lesnar lost in his UFC debut against Frank Mir and then won his second fight against Heath Herring. In November 2008, Lesnar defeated Randy Couture to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Shortly after a successful title defense in a rematch with Mir, Lesnar was sidelined due to diverticulitis. He would return at UFC 116 to defeat Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion Shane Carwin and unify the heavyweight championships, becoming the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion in the process.[17] Lesnar then lost the championship to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121. In 2011, he was once again sidelined due to diverticulitis and underwent surgery.[18] Lesnar returned at UFC 141 in December, losing to Alistair Overeem and promptly retiring from MMA.[19] Lesnar was a box office sensation in UFC, as he took part in some of the best-selling pay-per-view events in UFC history, including UFC 100 and UFC 116.[20]

In April 2012, Lesnar returned to professional wrestling, rejoining WWE after an eight-year hiatus. Two years later, at WrestleMania XXX, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to end his undefeated streak at WrestleMania. He achieved world champion status four times after this, having won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2014 and the WWE Universal Championship in 2017, 2018, and 2019. His first reign as Universal Champion was the longest world title reign in WWE since 1988 at 504 days (though recognized as 503 days by WWE), the sixth-longest world championship reign in the promotion's history. In June 2016, at UFC 199, the UFC announced that Lesnar would return to fight at UFC 200 even though he was still contracted with WWE. Lesnar defeated his opponent Mark Hunt via unanimous decision. However, after Lesnar tested positive for clomiphene, a banned substance on the UFC's anti-doping policy, he was suspended from the UFC by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for one year and fined $250,000, and his victory over Hunt was overturned to a no-contest. Lesnar then retired from MMA for a second time in 2017.

Lesnar is a seven-time world champion in WWE, a one-time world champion in NJPW and IGF, a one-time heavyweight champion in the UFC, and a one-time heavyweight wrestling champion in the NCAA, the only person in history to win a championship in each of those organizations.[21][22] In addition, Lesnar has won the 2002 King of the Ring tournament, the 2003 Royal Rumble[23] and the 2019 Money in the Bank, the third wrestler (after Edge and Sheamus) to achieve those three accomplishments. He has headlined numerous pay-per-view events for both WWE and the UFC, including WrestleMania XIX, WrestleMania 31, WrestleMania 34, UFC 100, and UFC 116. Lesnar has been managed by Paul Heyman throughout the majority of his professional wrestling career. A 2015 ESPN.com article referred to Lesnar as "the most accomplished athlete in professional wrestling history".[24]

Brock Lesnar
Brock Lesnar
Born(1977-07-12)July 12, 1977
Webster, South Dakota, U.S.
ResidenceMaryfield, Saskatchewan, Canada
OccupationProfessional wrestler, mixed martial artist, American football player
Years active2000–2007; 2012–present
(professional wrestling)
(American football)
2007–2011; 2016 (Mixed martial arts)
Sable (m.2006)
Ring name(s)Brock Lesnar[3]
Billed height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[4]
Billed weight286 lb (130 kg)[4]
Billed fromMinneapolis, Minnesota[4]
Trained byBrad Rheingans[5]
Curt Hennig[5]
Dean Malenko[5]
Doug Basham[5]
Nightmare Danny Davis[5]
Mixed martial arts career
Height6 ft 3 in (191 cm)[6]
Weight265 lb (120 kg; 18 st 13 lb)[6]
Reach81 in (206 cm)
Fighting out ofRegina, Saskatchewan, Canada
TeamDeathClutch Gym
RankBlue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros[7][8]
WrestlingNCAA Division I Wrestling[6]
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission2
By decision1
By knockout2
By submission1
No contests1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record [343] from Sherdog
last updated on: February 6, 2017 (2017-02-06)
No. 69
Position:Defensive tackle
Personal information
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:281 lb (127 kg)
Career information
High school:Webster (SD)
Career history
  • Minnesota Vikings (2004)*
  • Offseason and/or practice squad member only

Early life

Brock Edward Lesnar[25] was born on July 12, 1977,[3] in Webster, South Dakota,[26] the son of Stephanie and Richard Lesnar. He grew up on his parents' dairy farm in Webster.[27] He is of German descent.[28] He has two older brothers, Troy and Chad, and a younger sister, Brandi.[26] At age 17, Lesnar joined the Army National Guard, where he was assigned to an office job after his red-green colorblindness was deemed hazardous to his desire to work with explosives.[26][29] He lost this job after failing a computer typing test and later worked for a construction company.[26]

Lesnar attended Webster High School, where he played football[26] and competed in amateur wrestling, placing third in the state championships his senior year.[30] He then attended Bismarck State College, where he won the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) heavyweight wrestling championship in his sophomore year.[3] He transferred to the University of Minnesota on a wrestling scholarship for his junior and senior college years, where he was roommates with future WWE colleague Shelton Benjamin, who was also his assistant coach.[26][31]

Lesnar won the 2000 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I heavyweight wrestling championship his senior year after being the runner-up to Stephen Neal the year prior. He finished his amateur career as a two-time NJCAA All-American, the 1998 NJCAA Heavyweight Champion, two-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Conference Champion and the 2000 NCAA Heavyweight Champion, with a record of 106–5 overall in four years of college.[32]

Professional wrestling career

World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment

Ohio Valley Wrestling (2000–2002)

In 2000, Lesnar signed with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) and was sent to its developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he first met future friend and manager Paul Heyman.[33] He formed a tag team known as The Minnesota Stretching Crew with his former college roommate Shelton Benjamin and together they won the OVW Southern Tag Team Championship on three separate occasions.[34] Lesnar wrestled several dark matches in 2001 and 2002 before being called up to the WWF's main roster.[3]

WWE Champion (2002–2003)

Lesnar during his third run as WWE Champion

Lesnar during his third run as WWE Champion

Lesnar attempting a shooting star press at WrestleMania XIX

Lesnar attempting a shooting star press at WrestleMania XIX

Lesnar and Kurt Angle after their WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XIX

Lesnar and Kurt Angle after their WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XIX

Lesnar debuted on WWF television on the March 18, 2002, episode of Raw as a heel, attacking Al Snow, Maven and Spike Dudley during their match, while also being accompanied by Paul Heyman, who was seen giving instructions to Lesnar.[35] When the brand extension was introduced in the WWF, Lesnar was drafted to the Raw brand.[36] Later, Heyman was confirmed to be Lesnar's agent and gave Lesnar the nickname "The Next Big Thing".[37] Lesnar's first feud was with The Hardy Boyz and Lesnar defeated Jeff Hardy by knockout after Hardy was unable to respond to referee Theodore Long at Backlash on April 21, his first official televised match.[38][39] The next night on Raw, Lesnar faced off against Jeff's brother, Matt Hardy, and defeated him in the same fashion.[40] Lesnar and Shawn Stasiak lost to The Hardy Boyz at Insurrextion on May 4 after Stasiak was pinned, but he attacked all the participants after the match.[41] At Judgment Day on May 19, Lesnar and Heyman defeated The Hardy Boyz.

In June 2002, Lesnar won the 2002 King of the Ring tournament, defeating Bubba Ray Dudley in the first round, Booker T in the quarter-finals, Test in the semi-finals and Rob Van Dam in the finals,[42] earning him a shot at the WWE Undisputed Championship at SummerSlam. At Vengeance on July 21, Lesnar lost to Van Dam in a WWE Intercontinental Championship match by disqualification. On July 22, Lesnar joined the SmackDown! brand.[43] After a quick feud with Hollywood Hulk Hogan in August 2002, Lesnar defeated The Rock at SummerSlam on August 25 to become the new WWE Undisputed Champion and youngest WWE Champion at age 25.[44] He also became the second fastest professional wrestler to win the WWE Championship since his debut (126 days) behind only Ric Flair (113 days).[45] At the time, the WWE Undisputed Championship was being defended on both brands, so Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff expected Lesnar to return on Raw the following night. However, SmackDown! General Manager Stephanie McMahon announced that Lesnar was only required to defend the title on SmackDown! shows and events, forcing Bischoff to establish a new championship for the Raw brand (the World Heavyweight Championship), while the WWE Undisputed Championship was then renamed the WWE Championship.[46]

Lesnar's rapid rise to the top of WWE in 2002 led to a feud with The Undertaker, which involved a match at Unforgiven on September 22.[47] The match ended in a double disqualification, with Lesnar retained the title. Lesnar faced The Undertaker again at No Mercy, this time in a Hell in a Cell match. Leading up to the match, in the storyline, Lesnar broke The Undertaker's hand with a propane tank.[48] Despite Heyman begging McMahon not to let The Undertaker use his cast as a weapon, the request was denied and the match went on as planned.[49] At No Mercy, Lesnar defeated The Undertaker to retain the title, thus ending their feud.[47] Lesnar would go on to successfully retain the WWE Championship in a handicap match with Heyman against Edge at Rebellion on October 26.[50]

Lesnar's next opponent was Big Show and Heyman was convinced more than anyone that Lesnar could not win, trying to talk him out of defending the title.[51] Lesnar refused and defended the championship against Show at Survivor Series on November 17. At the pay-per view, Heyman turned on Lesnar, allowing Show to chokeslam him onto a steel chair and pin him to win the title, resulting in Lesnar's first pinfall loss in WWE. This led to Lesnar turning face for the first time.[52] Following Survivor Series, Heyman made it clear that Lesnar would not get a rematch, and had snuck a special clause saying so into his contract.[53] In order to gain his revenge on Big Show and Heyman, Lesnar interfered in his first title defense, which came against Kurt Angle the next month at Armageddon on December 15, where Lesnar executed the F-5 on Big Show, which enabled Angle to win the WWE Championship. On the following episode of SmackDown!, however, Angle introduced Heyman as his manager and, despite promising Lesnar a title shot earlier in the evening, declared that Lesnar still would not get it. Lesnar's rivalry with Heyman and Big Show resumed, which culminated in a match at the Royal Rumble in January 2003, with the winner being placed into the Royal Rumble later in the evening. On January 19, Lesnar would defeat Show and entered the Royal Rumble match as the #29 entry. He eliminated Matt Hardy and Team Angle (Charlie Haas and Lesnar's former OVW teammate Shelton Benjamin), who at the time, were mentored by Angle as a 3-man stable. Lesnar would then eliminate The Undertaker last and win the Royal Rumble, which guaranteed him a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania XIX, since he was a SmackDown! superstar.[52] After the Royal Rumble, Lesnar and Chris Benoit defeated Angle, Haas and Benjamin in a three-on-two handicap match at No Way Out on February 23, despite Team Angle injuring their partner, Edge, backstage before the match.[52] At WrestleMania XIX on March 30, Lesnar defeated Angle to win his second WWE Championship; during the match, he botched a shooting star press (a move he had used numerous times in OVW) and landed on his head and neck, resulting in a concussion. This forced Angle and Lesnar to improvise the finish of the match.

After WrestleMania XIX, Lesnar turned his attention to John Cena, who had returned from injury in February 2003 after an F-5 into a ringpost from Lesnar, with Cena claiming that Lesnar nearly ended his career and even named his new finishing move the "F.U." as a jab at the new champion.[54] The feud ended in a match at Backlash on April 27, where Lesnar defeated Cena to retain the title. On the following episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar returned to his rivalry with Big Show after, in the storyline, he injured Rey Mysterio badly during their match at Backlash. Show's attack resulted in Mysterio being carried out on a stretcher and back board, and Show took Mysterio off the stretcher and swung the back board into the ringpost, compounding the injury.[52] Lesnar called out Show, who demanded that Lesnar put his title on the line against him. This led to a stretcher match for the championship at Judgment Day on May 18, where Lesnar successfully retained.[55] During the scripted rivalry on the June 12 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar lifted Big Show off the top-rope in a superplex which caused the ring to collapse on impact.[56] As Lesnar and Big Show continued their rivalry, Kurt Angle returned from his neck surgery and began to form a more friendly rivalry with Lesnar, as the two were allies, yet contenders for the title. At the first-ever SmackDown! brand-exclusive pay-per-view in July, Vengeance, Lesnar lost the WWE Championship to Angle in a triple threat match involving Big Show, after he was pinned by Angle.

Lesnar continued to aggressively pursue the WWE Championship despite his friendship with Angle. Mr. McMahon became involved in the angle, at first berating Lesnar, who had involved himself in McMahon's rivalry with Zach Gowen, for losing to Angle. This all turned out to be a swerve that came into focus on the August 7 episode of SmackDown! in Kelowna, British Columbia. That night, Lesnar and McMahon were to face each other in a steel cage match with Angle as the special guest referee as per McMahon's orders on the previous week's program. During the match, Lesnar had passed out due to a staged backstage incident and McMahon was set to pin him, but Angle refused to allow McMahon to win that way. As the two men began to argue, Lesnar attacked Angle with an F-5 and kept attacking Angle while McMahon watched and celebrated with him afterwards, turning heel in the process.[57] At SummerSlam on August 24,[58] Lesnar lost to Angle after submitting to the ankle lock.[59] After that, Lesnar would cement his villainous turn by brutalizing smaller wrestlers and attacking his rivals on a more consistent basis. He returned to performing the F-5 into the ringpost, as he did to Spanky and Gowen, and interfered in Angle's matches on two separate occasions. On the September 18 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar defeated Angle in an Iron Man match to win his third WWE Championship[60] by a final score of five to four, thus ending their long-standing feud.[61]

Lesnar successfully defended his newly won title against the debuting Paul London on October 9 episode of SmackDown!. He returned to feud with The Undertaker, as Lesnar had previously cost Undertaker the title in a match against then champion Kurt Angle, which granted him a shot at Lesnar's title.[62] At No Mercy on October 19, Lesnar defeated Undertaker in a Biker Chain match after interference from The Full Blooded Italians and Vince McMahon.[63] After Paul Heyman returned to WWE as SmackDown! General Manager, Lesnar aligned himself with his former manager. With Survivor Series coming up, Lesnar decided to challenge Angle to a traditional Survivor Series elimination tag team match. Lesnar chose Big Show as his first teammate, with Heyman adding a returning Nathan Jones and a debuting Matt Morgan to bring the team number to four. Angle chose Chris Benoit and The APA to join his team. However, Faarooq was injured during a match with Lesnar and Angle's team was forced to find a replacement for him. Lesnar's team picked A-Train to fill the fifth and final spot for them after he attacked John Cena, who refused to accept an invitation to join Lesnar's team. Cena instead joined Angle's team and Angle added Hardcore Holly as the fifth member (Lesnar had legitimately injured Holly the year before and he had not wrestled since).[64] On November 16 at Survivor Series, Lesnar was eliminated after Benoit forced him to tap out to the Crippler Crossface; Lesnar's team would go on to lose the match.[63] On the December 4 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar successfully defended the WWE Championship against Benoit after Benoit passed out to Lesnar's debuting submission hold, the Brock Lock.[65]

Feud with Goldberg and departure (2003–2004)

Lesnar demonstrating his strength on Eddie Guerrero during a SmackDown! taping in February 2004

Lesnar demonstrating his strength on Eddie Guerrero during a SmackDown! taping in February 2004

The Survivor Series in November 2003 also marked the first time Lesnar met Goldberg from the Raw brand. After Lesnar claimed in a backstage interview that he could beat anybody in the world, Goldberg interrupted the interview and introduced himself to Lesnar, shaking hands with him before leaving with a staredown.[63] Lesnar followed this rivalry with a feud involving Hardcore Holly.[66] In the storyline, Holly wanted revenge on Lesnar for legitimately injuring his neck during a previous match between the two in 2002 which left Holly in need of neck surgery and out of action for a year. At the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2004, Lesnar defeated Holly to retain the WWE Championship.[67] Later in the Royal Rumble match, Lesnar attacked Goldberg with an F-5, enabling Kurt Angle to eliminate him.[63]

Lesnar defended the WWE Championship against Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out on February 15. Goldberg attacked Lesnar with a spear while the referee was unconscious, allowing Guerrero to get a near-fall on Lesnar. Lesnar then attempted an F-5 on Guerrero but Guerrero reversed it into a DDT on the title belt and executed a frog splash to win the WWE Championship. An angry Lesnar then began feuding with Goldberg, blaming him for losing his title, and a match was set up between the two at WrestleMania XX on March 14.[68] During the feud with Goldberg, Lesnar was also at odds with Stone Cold Steve Austin, who was shown suggesting to Goldberg that he attack Lesnar at No Way Out.[69] After Lesnar attacked Austin on Raw and stole his four-wheeler, Austin was inserted as the special guest referee for the WrestleMania match.[70] On the March 4 episode of SmackDown!, Lesnar defeated Hardcore Holly in his last match on a weekly WWE televised show. Behind the scenes, it was widely known that the match was Goldberg's last in WWE. Only a week before WrestleMania, rumors surfaced that Lesnar too was leaving to pursue a career in the National Football League (NFL).[71] As a result, Lesnar's match with Goldberg became a fiasco as the fans at Madison Square Garden jeered and heckled both professional wrestlers vociferously.[72] Goldberg won after a Jackhammer and both men subsequently received Stone Cold Stunners from Austin.[72]

Japanese promotions (2005–2007)

On October 8, 2005, Lesnar won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship on his debut match in a three-way match with Kazuyuki Fujita and Masahiro Chono at a New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) show in the Tokyo Dome.[73] Lesnar is one of the few American wrestlers to have held this title.[73] He won the match by pinning Masahiro Chono after an F-5, which he had renamed the Verdict since WWE owns the trademark on the F-5 name.[74] After the match, Lesnar stated that this name was referring to his lawsuit against WWE, who filed a motion for a temporary restraining order to prevent Lesnar from continuing to work with NJPW on December 6, but the court did not grant it. Following that, he had two non-title victories against Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata.[75][76] Lesnar successfully defended the championship on January 4, 2006, against former champion Shinsuke Nakamura.[75] On January 13, WWE once again filed an injunction against Lesnar to stop him from defending the IWGP Heavyweight Championship which was also not enforced as he went on to retain his championship against former Sumo Wrestling Grand Champion Akebono on March 19, at the Sumo Hall.[77] Lesnar had another successful title defense against Giant Bernard on May 3. This was the first American vs. American title match in NJPW since Vader vs. Stan Hansen in 1990.[78] On July 15, NJPW announced Lesnar would not return to defend the IWGP Heavyweight Championship due to "visa issues" and had been stripped of the title. A tournament was held on July 16 to determine the new champion which was won by Hiroshi Tanahashi. Lesnar continued to possess the physical IWGP Heavyweight Championship belt until late June 2007.[79]

Approximately one year later on June 29, 2007, Lesnar defended his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against TNA World Heavyweight Champion Kurt Angle in a champion vs. champion match, at the debut event of the Inoki Genome Federation (IGF). IGF promoter Antonio Inoki had stated Lesnar was the "proper" IWGP Heavyweight Champion as he was not defeated for the title. Angle would defeat Lesnar by forcing him to tap out to the ankle lock to win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship as recognized by IGF and Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA).[79][80] This was Lesnar's last match as a professional wrestler until 2012, when he re-signed with WWE.

Return to WWE

Various feuds and ending The Streak (2012–2014)

Lesnar faces off with John Cena upon his return in April 2012.

Lesnar faces off with John Cena upon his return in April 2012.

After executing an F-5, Lesnar stands over John Cena the night after WrestleMania XXVIII.

After executing an F-5, Lesnar stands over John Cena the night after WrestleMania XXVIII.

Lesnar broke The Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak in 2014.

Lesnar broke The Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak in 2014.

Lesnar returned to WWE on April 2, 2012, on Raw, as a heel, by confronting and delivering an F-5 to John Cena.[81][82] The following week on Raw, General Manager John Laurinaitis revealed that he signed Lesnar to bring "legitimacy" back to WWE and become the "new face of the WWE". Laurinaitis also announced that Lesnar would face Cena at Extreme Rules with the Extreme Rules stipulation later added to the match.[83] At Extreme Rules on April 29, Lesnar lost to Cena despite dominating the match.[84]

The following night on Raw, WWE's Chief Operating Officer Triple H refused to give in to Lesnar's unreasonable contract demands (which included being given his own personal jet and having Raw renamed to Monday Night Raw Starring Brock Lesnar), resulting in Lesnar attacking him and breaking his arm with a kimura lock in storyline.[85][86] The next week on Raw, Paul Heyman made his return as Lesnar's legal representative and claimed that Lesnar was quitting WWE.[85] He later announced a lawsuit against WWE for breach of contract.[85][87] At No Way Out in June, Triple H challenged Lesnar (who was not present) to a match at SummerSlam,[88] which Lesnar refused.[89] Stephanie McMahon would later goad Heyman into accepting the match on Lesnar's behalf on July 23 at Raw 1000.[90][91] At SummerSlam on August 19, Lesnar defeated Triple H by submission after once again breaking his arm in storyline.[92][93] The following night on Raw, Lesnar declared himself the new "King of Kings" and said that he would depart from WWE after his victory over Triple H, stating that he had conquered everything in the company.[94][95]

Lesnar returned on the January 28, 2013, episode of Raw, confronting Mr. McMahon who was about to fire Heyman, and despite Heyman's pleas, Lesnar attacked McMahon with an F-5,[96] breaking McMahon's pelvis in storyline.[97] The following week during The Miz's Miz TV talk show, Raw Managing Supervisor Vickie Guerrero revealed herself as the one who signed Lesnar to a new contract to impress McMahon.[98] On the February 25 episode of Raw, Lesnar once again attempted to attack McMahon, only to get into a brawl with the returning Triple H, which resulted in Lesnar legitimately having his head split open and requiring eighteen stitches.[99] The following week on Raw, Triple H issued a challenge to Lesnar, requesting a rematch with him at WrestleMania 29, which Lesnar accepted but only after Triple H signed a contract and Lesnar named the stipulation.[100][101] After Triple H signed the contract and assaulted Heyman, the stipulation was revealed as No Holds Barred with Triple H's career on the line.[102] At WrestleMania 29 on April 7, Lesnar lost to Triple H after a Pedigree onto the steel steps.[103] On the April 15 episode of Raw, Lesnar attacked 3MB (Heath Slater, Drew McIntyre, and Jinder Mahal) before Heyman challenged Triple H to face Lesnar in a steel cage match at Extreme Rules,[104] which Triple H accepted the following week.[105] At the event on May 19, after interference from Heyman, Lesnar defeated Triple H to end their feud.[106] Lesnar returned on the June 17 episode of Raw, attacking Heyman's fellow client CM Punk with an F-5.[107] Despite the accusations from Punk, Heyman claimed that he was not behind Lesnar's attack on him.[108] However, Heyman turned on Punk in July,[109] and claimed that Punk could not beat Lesnar, which led to Lesnar making his return and attacking Punk on the July 15 episode of Raw.[110] The following week on Raw, Punk challenged Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam on August 18, where Lesnar defeated Punk in a no disqualification match.[111]

On the December 30 episode of Raw, Lesnar returned with Heyman to announce his intentions to challenge the winner of the upcoming WWE World Heavyweight Championship match between Randy Orton and John Cena at the Royal Rumble.[112] Lesnar then dared any wrestler who disapproved of that notion to challenge him, which was answered by Mark Henry, and a brawl would ensue, ending with Lesnar delivering an F-5 to Henry.[113] The following week on Raw, Henry challenged Lesnar again, only to have Lesnar dislocate his elbow with the Kimura lock in storyline, which led Big Show to come out afterwards to confront Lesnar,[114] thus starting a feud which was settled at the Royal Rumble on January 26, 2014, where Lesnar defeated Show after attacking him with a steel chair before the match began.[115] On the February 24 episode of Raw, Heyman stated that Lesnar had requested a match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, but received an open contract to face anyone else of his choosing instead. The Undertaker then returned and attacked Lesnar with a chokeslam through a table, setting up their match at WrestleMania XXX.[116] On April 6, Lesnar defeated Undertaker after executing three F-5s, ending his undefeated WrestleMania streak at 21, a feat that was described by Sports Illustrated as being "the most shocking result since the Montreal Screwjob".[117]

WWE World Heavyweight Champion (2014–2015)

Lesnar, with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, across the ring from John Cena at the Night of Champions pay-per-view in September 2014

Lesnar, with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, across the ring from John Cena at the Night of Champions pay-per-view in September 2014

On the July 21 episode of Raw, Triple H announced that Lesnar would face John Cena at SummerSlam for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.[118] At SummerSlam on August 17, Lesnar defeated Cena to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and during the match he delivered sixteen suplexes (most of which were German suplexes) and two F-5s to Cena, who barely managed any offense.[119] On the August 19 episode of Main Event, Triple H announced that Cena was invoking his championship rematch clause against Lesnar at Night of Champions on September 21,[120] where Lesnar was disqualified due to Seth Rollins interfering, but retained his championship, which could not be lost via disqualification.[121] Later in the year, after Rollins reunited with The Authority, he was added to Lesnar and Cena's championship match at the Royal Rumble on January 25, 2015, making it a triple threat match,[122] which Lesnar won despite suffering a storyline broken rib during the match.[123]

Lesnar's next challenger was Roman Reigns, who won the Royal Rumble match to earn the right to face Lesnar for the title at WrestleMania 31 on March 29.[124] During his main event match against Reigns, Lesnar delivered multiple suplexes and was heard exclaiming, "Suplex City, bitch!" and thereafter "Suplex City" became one of his signature catchphrases and merchandise motifs. After Lesnar and Reigns traded a few false finishes, Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank contract while the match was in progress, thus making it a triple threat; Rollins then pinned Reigns to win the title.[125] The following night on Raw, Lesnar tried to invoke his rematch clause and subsequently attacked commentators Booker T, John "Bradshaw" Layfield and Michael Cole, as well as a cameraman after Rollins refused the rematch, which led to Stephanie McMahon suspending Lesnar indefinitely in storyline.[126]

Lesnar returned on the June 15 episode of Raw, being chosen by The Authority as the number one contender to Rollins' WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground.[127][128] On July 4, Lesnar made his first non-televised wrestling appearance for WWE since his 2012 return, defeating Kofi Kingston at The Beast in the East live event in Tokyo in a quick winning effort; he also delivered F-5s to Kingston's New Day stablemates Big E and Xavier Woods after the match.[129] At Battleground on July 19, Lesnar dominated Rollins, delivering thirteen suplexes, but mid-pinfall, after performing an F-5, he was attacked by The Undertaker (who incapacitated Lesnar with a chokeslam and two Tombstone Piledrivers), thus ending the match with Lesnar winning by disqualification and Rollins retaining the championship.[130]

Suplex City (2015–2017)

Lesnar and Dean Ambrose during their match at WrestleMania 32

Lesnar and Dean Ambrose during their match at WrestleMania 32

The following night on Raw, Undertaker explained that he had attacked Lesnar not for ending his WrestleMania streak, but rather for Lesnar allowing Heyman to constantly taunt Undertaker about it, which led to the two brawling throughout the arena and a WrestleMania rematch being scheduled for SummerSlam on August 18,[131] where Undertaker would controversially defeat Lesnar; during the match, Undertaker submitted to a Kimura lock by Lesnar and the timekeeper rang the bell but the referee did not see the submission and demanded that the match continue, which saw Undertaker then attack Lesnar with a low blow and Lesnar pass out to Hell's Gate.[132] The following night on Raw, Lesnar and Heyman challenged Undertaker to an immediate rematch, only to be confronted by Bo Dallas (who mocked Lesnar about his defeat), whom Lesnar then responded by performing three German suplexes and an F-5.[133] During Night of Champions on September 20, it was announced that Lesnar would face The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell on October 25,[134] where Lesnar defeated The Undertaker after a low blow and F-5 onto the exposed ring floor, ending their feud.[135][136] The match was later voted "Match of the Year" during the 2015 Slammy Awards.[137]

On the January 11, 2016, episode of Raw, Lesnar returned, attacking The New Day, The League of Nations (Sheamus, King Barrett, Rusev and Alberto Del Rio) and Kevin Owens, before performing an F-5 on Roman Reigns.[138] The following week on Raw, Lesnar would brawl with Reigns until they were both attacked by The Wyatt Family.[139] At the Royal Rumble on January 24, Lesnar was the 23rd entrant, eliminating four competitors before being eliminated by Bray Wyatt with help from the rest of The Wyatt Family.[140] On the January 25 episode of Raw, Stephanie McMahon announced that the main event of Fastlane would be a triple threat match between Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose to determine who would face Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 32.[141] In the following weeks, Lesnar would be continuously provoked by Ambrose, with Reigns saving him from the subsequent attacks by Lesnar.[142][143][144] At Fastlane on February 21, Lesnar dominated most of the match before he was put through two broadcast tables by Ambrose and Reigns; he would ultimately lose the match after Reigns pinned Ambrose.[145] Because of this, Lesnar attacked Ambrose in the parking lot as he was arriving at the arena. Ambrose returned later in the night, having hijacked an ambulance, and challenged Lesnar to a No Holds Barred Street Fight match at WrestleMania 32 on April 3,[146] where Lesnar defeated Ambrose after an F-5 onto a pile of chairs.[147]

On the July 7 episode of SmackDown, it was announced that Lesnar would be facing Randy Orton at SummerSlam, who himself had just returned to WWE from injury.[148] Two days later on July 9, WWE allowed Lesnar to have a one-off fight for UFC 200. Lesnar failed two of his drug tests for this fight, but he was not suspended by WWE because he is not a full-time performer.[149] On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Lesnar was the #5 draft pick for the Raw brand.[150] Reports claimed that he would have been #1 had he not failed his UFC drug tests.[151] Orton was drafted to SmackDown, thus making their match an interbrand match, while WWE billed their face-off as a match fifteen years in the making.[152] Along with Heyman, Lesnar made his return to Raw on August 1 (his first appearance on WWE programming since WrestleMania 32), but during his segment Orton appeared and attacked Lesnar with an RKO.[153] Lesnar then attacked Orton during his match the following night on SmackDown Live, performing an F-5 on Orton.[154] At SummerSlam on August 21, Lesnar defeated Orton by technical knockout, leaving Orton with a forehead wound which required ten staples.[155] Much to Shane McMahon's dismay, Lesnar would later attack Shane with an F-5.[156] The end made many people believe Lesnar had gone off script due to the severity of Orton's head wound,[157][158][159] out of which Vince McMahon confirmed that the ending was planned.[160] Lesnar was later storyline fined $500 for delivering an F-5 to SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon and his assault on Orton.[161] On September 24 at a house show in Chicago, Illinois, Lesnar defeated Orton in a no-disqualification rematch, with the match being billed as a Suplex City death match.[162]

On the October 10 episode of Raw, Heyman, on Lesnar's behalf, challenged Goldberg to a fight after the pair had been feuding for several months through social media and during promotional work for the WWE 2K17 video game, which featured Lesnar as the cover star and Goldberg as the pre-order bonus.[163] Heyman stated that Goldberg was the one blemish on Lesnar's WWE career, as Goldberg had defeated Lesnar at WrestleMania XX in 2004.[164] On the October 17 episode of Raw, Goldberg returned to WWE after a twelve-year absence and accepted Lesnar's request for a fight with their match later scheduled for Survivor Series.[165][166] On the final Raw before Survivor Series, Lesnar and Goldberg had a confrontation for the first time in twelve years, resulting in a brawl with security after Heyman insulted Goldberg's family.[167] On November 20 at Survivor Series, Lesnar lost to Goldberg in 1 minute and 26 seconds,[168][169] marking the first time in three years that Lesnar was pinned.[170] The next night on Raw, Goldberg declared himself the first entrant in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.[171] The following week on Raw, Heyman addressed the Survivor Series match, stating that they underestimated Goldberg and that the match was a humiliation and embarrassment for him and Lesnar, who would also be in the Royal Rumble as he has something to prove.[172] Lesnar returned on the January 16 episode of Raw to confront other Royal Rumble participants, attacking Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns.[173][174] At the Royal Rumble on January 29, Lesnar entered at number 26 and went on to eliminate Enzo Amore, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler before confronting Goldberg, who entered at number 28 and quickly eliminated Lesnar after a spear.[175]

First Universal Championship reign (2017–2018)

Lesnar facing Roman Reigns before their Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 34

Lesnar facing Roman Reigns before their Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 34

The following night on Raw, Lesnar challenged Goldberg to a final match at WrestleMania 33.[176] On the February 6 episode of Raw, Goldberg would accept Lesnar's challenge whilst also being named number one contender for Kevin Owens' Universal Championship,[177] which he won at Fastlane[178] thus turning his match with Lesnar into a title match.[179] At WrestleMania 33, Lesnar beat Goldberg to win his fifth world title in WWE and became the first man to have won both the WWE Championship and the Universal Championship. Lesnar also became the second person to kick-out from Goldberg's Jackhammer and gave him the first clean singles loss of his professional wrestling career.[180][181] After several weeks of feuding, Lesnar's first title defense came at the inaugural Great Balls of Fire event on July 9, 2017, where he successfully retained against Samoa Joe, before defeating him a second time for the title at a live event.

On the July 31 episode of Raw, Raw general manager Kurt Angle announced that Lesnar would defend his title in a fatal four-way match at SummerSlam against Joe, Roman Reigns, and Braun Strowman. Lesnar and Heyman then appeared, announcing that both would leave WWE should Lesnar lose the championship in the match.[182] At the event, Lesnar successfully retained the title by pinning Reigns.[183] The next night on Raw, Lesnar was attacked by Strowman; it was later announced that the two would face for the title at No Mercy, which Lesnar won.[184] Lesnar then defeated WWE Champion AJ Styles in an interbrand Champion vs Champion non-title match at Survivor Series. His next title defense was scheduled for the Royal Rumble where he successfully defended the title in a triple threat match against Strowman and Kane. Lesnar then re-ignited his feud with Roman Reigns, who won the Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber to become the number one contender to Lesnar's title at WrestleMania 34.[185] At the event, Lesnar pinned Reigns to retain the title in the main event.[186] Afterwards, rumors arose that Lesnar would leave WWE and rejoin the UFC.[187] However, on April 9, it was announced Lesnar re-signed with the WWE and he would defend the title against Reigns in a rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble pay-per-view, this time inside a steel cage.[188] At the event, Lesnar defeated Reigns as Reigns speared Lesnar through the cage and thus giving the accidental win to Lesnar as he escaped the cage first per the rules.[189]

At Extreme Rules, Raw general manager Kurt Angle threatened to strip Lesnar of the Universal Title if he did now show up to Raw the following night, since Lesnar had not appeared on television since the Greatest Royal Rumble nearly three months prior.[190] The following night on Raw, Angle was interrupted by Paul Heyman, who agreed that Brock would defend his title at SummerSlam; Reigns became the number one contender later that same night.[191]

Lesnar returned to WWE programming on the July 30 episode of Raw, per orders of Angle, otherwise Lesnar would be stripped of the Universal Championship.[192] Despite being at the arena, Lesnar refused to appear in the ring, and Angle threatened to fire Heyman if Lesnar failed to do so. Throughout the broadcast, Heyman unsuccessfully attempted to convince Lesnar to appear, with Lesnar going as far as to threaten Heyman. At the end of the show, Lesnar appeared after Angle fired Heyman and called Lesnar the worst Universal champion in WWE history, and subsequently attacked Angle with the F-5 before choking Heyman.[193] Two weeks later, Heyman revealed it was all just a ruse with Lesnar returning on the August 13 episode of Raw to attack Reigns.[194] At SummerSlam, Strowman was at ringside ready to cash in his Money in the Bank contract on the winner. Lesnar incapacitated Strowman, allowing Reigns to capitalize on the distracted Lesnar and win the Universal Championship, ending Lesnar's title reign at 504 days, which had surpassed CM Punk's WWE Championship reign of 434 days as "the longest [world championship reign] of the modern era". The reign became the sixth longest world championship reign in WWE history and the longest since 1988.[195][196]

Multiple Universal Championship reigns (2018–present)

Lesnar returned at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view in September, interrupting the Hell in a Cell match between defending Universal Champion Reigns and Strowman, kicking in the door and attacking both men, thus rendering the match a no-contest and costing Strowman his Money in the Bank cash-in match.[197] The next night on Raw, Acting General Manager Baron Corbin announced that Lesnar would challenge Reigns and Strowman in a triple threat match for the Universal Championship at the Crown Jewel event on November 2.[198] On October 22, however, the match was changed to a singles match between Lesnar and Strowman for the vacant title after Reigns was forced to relinquish it due to being diagnosed with a leukemia relapse.[199] At the event, Lesnar defeated Strowman in three minutes to become the first two-time Universal Champion, thanks to a pre-match attack from Baron Corbin.[200]

After his title win, it was announced that he would have a rematch with WWE Champion AJ Styles at Survivor Series in another Champion vs Champion non-title match. However, five days before Survivor Series, Styles lost his title to Daniel Bryan on that night's episode of SmackDown Live, meaning Lesnar would instead face Bryan at Survivor Series. At the event, Lesnar overcame a late rally from Bryan to defeat him in the main event.[201] Lesnar then successfully defended the title against Finn Bálor via submission at Royal Rumble on January 27, 2019.[202] The next night on Raw, Lesnar attacked 2019 Royal Rumble match winner Seth Rollins with six F-5s, thus setting up a title match for WrestleMania 35.[203] At the event, Lesnar attacked Rollins before the match. After the match officially started, Rollins attacked Lesnar with a low blow while the referee was down and pinned Lesnar, ending his second reign as Universal Champion at 156 days.[204]

At Money in the Bank on May 19, 2019, Lesnar made an unannounced return as Sami Zayn's replacement in the Money in the Bank ladder match. Prior to the match, Zayn had been attacked backstage. Later, the match began with only seven of the scheduled eight participants. At the climax of the match, Lesnar ran-in unannounced, took out Ali, who was on top of a ladder, and then won the Money in the Bank contract, granting him either a Universal Championship or WWE Championship match at any time of his choosing within the next year.[205] After teasing cashing in on Universal Champion Seth Rollins and WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and failing an attempt to cash-in on Rollins at Super ShowDown, Lesnar successfully cashed in his contract to win the Universal Championship from Rollins at Extreme Rules on July 14 right after Rollins and Raw Women's Champion Becky Lynch had retained their respective titles against Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans in a Last Chance Winners Take All Extreme Rules mixed tag team match. This made Lesnar the first wrestler to successfully cash in on the Universal Championship, as well as becoming a record three-time Universal Champion.[206] Rollins then earned a rematch against Lesnar at SummerSlam on August 11.[207] At the event, Lesnar lost the title to Rollins thus ending his third title reign at 28 days.

Lesnar and Heyman returned on SmackDown Live on September 17 and issued a challenge to Kofi Kingston for the WWE Championship on SmackDown's first episode on FOX on October 4 (renamed to Friday Night SmackDown). Kingston accepted and Lesnar proceeded to F5 him. This will be Lesnar's first match on television in 15 years.

Professional wrestling style and persona

Lesnar preparing the F-5 against The Undertaker

Lesnar preparing the F-5 against The Undertaker

Since Lesnar's debut, he was portrayed as a powerhouse athlete. He is often called by his nickname "The Beast Incarnate" or simply "The Beast". During his initial run when he was consistently main-eventing, WWE was in what is labelled by the company and fans as the "Ruthless Aggression Era". His go-to finishing maneuver for his entire career has been a spinning facebuster[208] known as the F-5 (or The Verdict when he wrestled outside of WWE).[209][210] After his return in 2012, Lesnar focused on an MMA-orientated gimmick, sporting MMA gloves during his matches and adding the Kimura lock as a finisher.[211][212] Lesnar is also known for performing several suplexes on his rivals, with these often being described as the opponent being taken to "Suplex City",[213] named after an ad-lib Lesnar delivered to Roman Reigns during their WrestleMania 31 match.[214] Lesnar has been managed by Paul Heyman for the majority of WWE career with Heyman being Lesnar's mouthpiece for storylines and feuds.

Around the fall of 2017, a large number of fans and critics had begun to condemn Lesnar. Many reporters thought his Suplex City character "jumped the shark" and his matches had "become formulaic".[215][216] He was largely criticized due to his absences from television during his time as Universal Champion. It was pointed out that he had the longest world championship reign since Hulk Hogan. However, he had only defended the title on 13 occasions during this time, with Tim Fiorvanti from ESPN commenting that he had "removed the top title on Monday Night Raw from circulation".[217] The short length of his matches were also criticized by journalists and fans.[218] Former WWE Champion Bob Backlund criticized the fact that Lesnar used mostly suplexes during his matches, saying "it gets old to do the same thing over and over and over again".[219]

Professional football career

After his match at WrestleMania XX in March 2004, Lesnar sidelined his career in WWE to pursue a career in the National Football League (NFL) despite not playing football since high school.[14] WWE issued this statement on their official website, WWE.com, following his departure:

Lesnar later told a Minnesota radio show that he had "three wonderful years" in WWE, but had grown unhappy and always wanted to play professional football, adding that he did not want to be 40 years old and wondering if he could have "made it" in football. In an interview about the NFL, he stated:

Lesnar had a great showing at the NFL Combine, but on April 17 a minivan collided with his motorbike and he suffered a broken jaw and left hand, a bruised pelvis and a pulled groin.[222][223][224] Several NFL teams expressed interest in watching Lesnar work out.[225] The Minnesota Vikings worked out Lesnar on June 11, but he was hampered by the groin injury suffered in the April motorcycle accident.[225][226] On July 24 it was reported that he was nearly recovered from his groin injury.[225] He signed with the Vikings on July 27 and played in several preseason games for the team.[15][225] He was released by the Vikings on August 30.[15][225] Lesnar received an invitation to play as a representative for the Vikings in NFL Europa, but declined due to his desire to stay in the United States with his family.[15] He had several football cards produced of him during his time with the Vikings.[227]

Mixed martial arts career

Hero's (2007)

On April 29, 2006, after the final match of the K-1 World Grand Prix 2006 in Las Vegas, Lesnar announced his intent to join K-1's mixed martial arts league, Hero's. He trained with Minnesota Martial Arts Academy under Greg Nelson and Minnesota Assistant Head wrestling coach Marty Morgan.[228] Lesnar announced on August 12 in Las Vegas that he had signed a deal with the K-1 Hero's promotion.[229] His first fight was scheduled against Choi Hong-man of South Korea on June 2, 2007 at the Dynamite!! USA show.[230][231] However, prior to the match, Hong-Man was replaced by Min Soo Kim. Lesnar submitted Soo Kim with strikes in 1:09 of the first round to win his first official MMA match.[16]

Ultimate Fighting Championship (2008–2011)

Debut and UFC Heavyweight Champion

During UFC 77 on October 20, it was announced that Lesnar had reached a deal to fight with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).[232] On February 2, 2008, Lesnar made his debut with the promotion in an event titled UFC 81: Breaking Point against former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir.[233] Due to his large hands,[234] Lesnar was wearing 4XL gloves for the fight, making him the second man in Nevada's combat sports history to wear such gloves, after Choi Hong-man.[235] Lesnar secured an early takedown and began landing numerous punches, but was docked a point after a punch hit Mir on the back of the head. Following another takedown by Lesnar, Mir managed to secure a kneebar and forced a submission at 1:30 of the first round, causing Lesnar to lose in his UFC debut.[233] At UFC 82 on March 1, former UFC Heavyweight Champion and Hall of Famer Mark Coleman was announced to fight Lesnar at UFC 87.[236] However, Coleman withdrew from the fight due to an injury and was replaced by Heath Herring.[237] On August 9, Lesnar defeated Herring by unanimous decision.[238]

Lesnar then faced Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 91 on November 15.[239] Lesnar beat Couture via a technical knockout (TKO) in the second round to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.[240]

On December 27 at UFC 92, Frank Mir defeated Antônio Nogueira for the Interim Heavyweight Championship and was to face Lesnar for the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Championship at UFC 98. Immediately after winning the Interim Heavyweight title, Mir found Lesnar in the crowd and shouted, "You've got my belt". Due to a knee injury to Mir, the title unification match with Lesnar that was originally slated to be the UFC 98 main event was postponed.[241] Lesnar won the postponed rematch with Mir at UFC 100 on July 11, 2009, via technical knockout in the second round. The win earned Lesnar Beatdown of the Year honors, with Anderson Silva, from Sherdog for 2009.[242] During his post-match celebration, Lesnar flipped off the crowd who had been booing him. Lesnar also made a disparaging comment about the pay-per-view's primary sponsor Bud Light, claiming they "won't pay me nothin'" and promoted Coors Light instead. Lesnar later apologized for his remarks at the post-fight press conference, where he held a bottle of Bud Light and endorsed their product.[243]

On July 1 it was reported that the winner of the Shane Carwin vs. Cain Velasquez fight at UFC 104 would face Lesnar, but the match was scrapped and Lesnar was scheduled to defend the title against Shane Carwin at UFC 106 on November 21.[244] On October 2 it was announced that Lesnar pulled out of his Carwin bout due to an illness. UFC President Dana White said Lesnar had been ill for three weeks, claiming he had never been this sick in his life and that it would take him a while to recover, therefore his fight with Carwin was rescheduled for UFC 108 on January 2, 2010.[245] Lesnar initially sought treatment in Canada, but later told reporters that he had received "Third World treatment" at a hospital in Brandon, Manitoba and that seeking better treatment in the United States saved his life. Lesnar went on to criticize Canadian health care further and stated that he shared his experience in an effort to speak "on the behalf of the doctors in the United States that don't want health care reform to happen".[246]

On November 4 it was confirmed that Lesnar was suffering from mononucleosis and that his bout with Carwin would have to wait a bit longer and the fight for Lesnar's heavyweight championship was cancelled.[247] On November 14 at the UFC 105 post-fight conference, Dana White stated, "[Lesnar]'s not well and he's not going to be getting well anytime soon" and that an interim title match might need to be set up.[248] In addition to mononucleosis, it was revealed that he was suffering from a serious case of diverticulitis, an intestinal disorder, which required surgery.[249] After further diagnosis, Lesnar underwent surgery on November 16 to close a perforation in his intestine that had been leaking fecal matter into his abdomen, causing pain, abscesses and overtaxing his immune system to the point that he contracted mononucleosis. From the level of damage to Lesnar's system, the surgeon estimated that the intestinal condition had been ongoing for around a year.[250]

In January 2010, Lesnar announced on ESPN's SportsCenter that he was scheduled to make a return to the UFC in the summer.[251] A match between Frank Mir and Shane Carwin took place on March 27 at UFC 111 to determine the Interim Heavyweight Champion and Lesnar's next opponent.[252] Shane Carwin defeated Mir via knockout in the first round, becoming the new Interim Champion. After the fight, Lesnar came into the ring and stated, "It was a good fight but he's wearing a belt that's a make-believe belt. I've got the real championship belt".[253] Lesnar faced Carwin at UFC 116 on July 3 to unify the heavyweight titles.[254] Early in the first round, Carwin knocked Lesnar down with punch, gave him a cut above his left eye and used a ground and pound attack the rest of the round. In the next round, Lesnar was able to take Carwin down, attain a full mount, then move into side-control and finish the fight with an arm triangle choke. With the victory, Lesnar became the undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion, earning his first Submission of the Night and giving Carwin his first loss. The win also tied a UFC record for most consecutive successful UFC Heavyweight Championship defenses.

Title loss and first retirement

Lesnar's next defense was against undefeated top contender Cain Velasquez on October 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California at UFC 121.[255] Dana White announced via SportsNation that the UFC would bring back UFC Primetime to hype the fight.[256] Lesnar was defeated by Velasquez for the title by TKO in the first round.[257]

On January 11, 2011, Lesnar was announced as a coach of The Ultimate Fighter Season 13, opposite Junior dos Santos,[258] with the two expected to fight on June 11 at UFC 131,[259] but he was struck with another bout of diverticulitis and had to withdraw from the fight on May 12.[260] He was replaced by Shane Carwin, who ended up losing against dos Santos.[261] Lesnar underwent surgery on May 27 to help battle his problems with diverticulitis. Dana White said that he had a 12-inch piece of his colon removed.[18]

In its May 2011 issue, ESPN's magazine published a story listing the highest paid athlete based on base salary and earnings for the most recent calendar year or most recent season in 30 sports. Lesnar topped the list for MMA at $5.3 million, which included his reported bout salaries and estimated pay-per-view bonuses.[262]

In the summer of 2011, Lesnar announced that he was returning to action, stating, "I feel like a new man. Healthy. Strong. I feel like I used to feel".[263] His return match was scheduled to be at UFC 141 on December 30 in Las Vegas against former Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.[264] Overeem won the fight by way of technical knockout in the first round.[265][266] Lesnar then announced his retirement from MMA, mentioning his struggles with diverticulitis and saying "tonight was the last time you'll see me in the octagon".[265][266]

Speculation about a return to MMA lasted until March 24, 2015, when Lesnar announced in an interview on SportsCenter that he had re-signed with WWE and officially closed the door on a return to MMA, even though he was offered a deal "ten times more" than what he had made previously in his MMA career. He further elaborated that, while he was training for months for a return to the UFC, he felt "physically great but something was lacking mentally".[267][268] Lesnar added that "[he's] an older caveman now, so [he] makes smarter caveman decisions" and that he chose to sign with WWE instead of returning to MMA because he could "work part-time with full-time pay".[269]

Return to the UFC (2016–2018)

Fight against Mark Hunt

Though Lesnar said he was "closing the door on MMA" in March 2015,[270] UFC announced on June 4, 2016 that he would return at UFC 200 on July 9.[271] WWE confirmed it had granted Lesnar "a one-off opportunity" to compete at UFC 200 before he would return to the company for SummerSlam on August 21.[272] Lesnar, representing Canada for the first time in his career, defeated Mark Hunt by unanimous decision, avoiding 19 of Hunt's 30 attempted standing strikes and taking him down four times to land 43 significant ground strikes (32 in the final round). He also was paid a UFC record $2.5 million purse.[273][274][275] This record was broken at UFC 202 by Conor McGregor, who was also the previous holder.[276]

Suspension and second retirement

On July 15, Lesnar was notified of a potential anti-doping policy violation by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) stemming from an undisclosed banned substance in an out-of-competition sample collected on June 28.[277] On July 19, the UFC announced that a second sample taken in-competition on July 9 tested positive for the same banned substance discovered in the previous out-of-competition sample.[278] On August 23, the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) confirmed that Lesnar twice tested positive for the estrogen blocker clomiphene and he was suspended.[279]

On December 15, it was confirmed that Lesnar was fined $250,000 and suspended from competition for one year by the NSAC. He would be eligible to return in July 2017. As a result of the suspension, the result of his fight with Mark Hunt was overturned to a no contest.[280] As of January 2019, Lesnar was yet to pay the fine.[281]

On February 14, 2017, it was reported that Lesnar had notified UFC he was retiring from MMA for the second time.[282] On July 7, 2018, Lesnar stormed the cage after the main event fight at UFC 226 and challenged the new UFC Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier.[17] On July 8, USADA confirmed that Lesnar had begun the process to get back into their drug-testing pool.[283]

UFC officials were targeting a bout between Lesnar and Daniel Cormier for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, however, Dana White later announced that Lesnar decided not to fight and is "done" with MMA.[284][285]

Personal life

"It's very basic for me. When I go home, I don't buy into any of the bullshit. Like I said, it's pretty basic: Train, sleep, family, fight. It's my life. I like it. [...] I just don't put myself out there to the fans and prostitute my private life to everybody. In today's day and age, with the Internet and cameras and cell phones, I just like being old school and living in the woods and living my life. I came from nothing, and at any moment, you can go back to having nothing." — Lesnar on his private life, 2010[286]

Lesnar married Rena Greek, known professionally as Sable, on May 6, 2006.[287] They reside on a farm in Maryfield, Saskatchewan,[288] having previously lived in Maple Plain, Minnesota.[289][290] Together, they have two sons named Turk (born 2009) and Duke (born 2010).[291][292] Lesnar also has twins: a daughter named Mya Lynn and a son named Luke (born 2002) with his former fiancée, Nicole McClain.[293] He is also the stepfather of Greek's daughter, with her first husband.[26]

Lesnar is an intensely private individual who has previously stated his dislike for the media; as such, he rarely participates in interviews and avoids questions pertaining to his private life.[286] He is a supporter of the Republican Party.[246][294] He is a member of the National Rifle Association, making an appearance at their annual meeting in May 2011 to discuss his passion for hunting and his role as a spokesman for the Fusion Ammunition company.[295][296] He is a fan of the Winnipeg Jets, and all three of his sons play hockey.[297]

During his first run in WWE, Lesnar developed addictions to both alcohol and painkillers, allegedly drinking a bottle of vodka per day and taking hundreds of Vicodin pills per month to manage the pain caused by wear and tear on his body. He named his accident at WrestleMania XIX as a particular source of pain.[26] Lesnar claims that, as a result of his addiction and mental exhaustion, he does not remember "an entire two years" of his WWE career.[298]

In January 2001, Lesnar was arrested by police in Louisville, Kentucky for suspicion of possessing large amounts of anabolic steroids. The charges were dropped when it was discovered that the substances were a legal growth hormone. His lawyer described it as a "vitamin type of thing".[299]

Lesnar had previously signed a non-compete clause in order to be released from his contract with WWE, which prohibited him from working for any other professional wrestling companies before June 2010. However, he decided to challenge this ruling in court.[300] WWE responded with a counterclaim after Lesnar breached the agreement by appearing at a New Japan Pro-Wrestling show in 2004.[301] In July 2005, the two sides dropped their claims and entered negotiations to renew their relationship.[302] WWE had offered Lesnar a contract, but on August 2, their official website reported that Lesnar had withdrawn from any involvement with the company.[303] The lawsuit began to enter settlement talks on September 21, but did not get solved.[304][305]

On January 14, 2006, Judge Christopher Droney stated that unless WWE gave him a good argument between then and the 25th, he would rule in favor of Lesnar, giving him a summary judgment. This would have enabled Lesnar to work anywhere immediately.[306] WWE was later granted a deadline postponement.[307] On April 24, WWE announced on WWE.com that both parties had reached a settlement. On June 12, a federal judge dismissed the case at the request of both legal parties.[308]

On December 15, 2011, Lesnar was charged with hunting infractions on a trip to Alberta on November 19, 2010. Two charges were dropped, but Lesnar pleaded guilty to the charge of improper tagging of an animal. He was fined $1,725 and given a six-month hunting suspension.[309]

Other media

In 2003, WWE Home Video released a DVD chronicling Lesnar's career entitled Brock Lesnar: Here Comes the Pain. It was re-released in 2012 as a three-disc DVD and two-disc Blu-ray collector's edition to tie in with Lesnar's WWE return. It was also expanded to include new matches and interviews. In 2016, a new home video was released on DVD and Blu-ray, as well as a collector's edition, called Brock Lesnar: Eat. Sleep. Conquer. Repeat. and includes accomplishments from his second run in WWE.[310]

Lesnar was featured on the covers of Flex and Muscle & Fitness magazine in 2004[311][312] and Minneapolis' City Pages in 2008.[313] He is the cover athlete for the WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the Pain, UFC Undisputed 2010 and WWE 2K17 video games.[314]

In 2009, Lesnar signed an endorsement deal with Dymatize Nutrition. A CD containing footage of Lesnar training was included with Dymatize's "Xpand" product.[315]

Lesnar co-wrote an autobiography with Paul Heyman, titled Death Clutch: My Story of Determination, Domination, and Survival, which was published by William Morrow and Company in 2011.[316]

In a 2013 post on his blog, Attack on Titan author Hajime Isayama revealed that he drew inspiration from Lesnar for the character of the Armored Titan.[317]



2014True GiantsHimselfFilm debut


2008E:60HimselfOctober 21
2009–2010Rome Is Burning3 episodes
2010UFC PrimetimeEpisode: Lesnar vs. Velasquez
2011ESPN Friday Night FightsJanuary 14
Late Night with Jimmy FallonMarch 28 (season 3, episode 49)
2012The Tonight Show with Jay LenoFebruary 21 (season 20, episode 93)
2016Mike and Mike in the MorningAugust 18
SportsCenterFebruary 16 (season 38, episode 47)
UFC Ultimate InsiderJuly 3 (Season 5, Episode 520)

Video games

2002WWE SmackDown! Shut Your MouthCover star
2003WWE SmackDown! Here Comes the PainCover star
2003WWE WrestleMania XIX
2003WWE Crush Hour
2003WWE Raw 2
2005Wrestle Kingdom
2006Madden NFL 06
2009UFC 2009 Undisputed
2010UFC Undisputed 2010Cover star
2011WWE '12
2012UFC Undisputed 3
2012WWE '13
2013WWE 2K14
2014WWE 2K15
2014EA Sports UFC
2015WWE 2K16
2016WWE 2K17Cover star
2017WWE 2K18
2018WWE 2K19

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
9 matches5 wins3 losses
By knockout22
By submission21
By decision10
No contests1
NC5–3 (1)Mark HuntNC (overturned)UFC 200July 9, 201635:00Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesOriginally a unanimous decision win for Lesnar; overturned after he tested positive for clomiphene.
Loss5–3Alistair OvereemTKO (body kick and punches)UFC 141December 30, 201112:26Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Loss5–2Cain VelasquezTKO (punches)UFC 121October 23, 201014:12Anaheim, California, United StatesLost the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win5–1Shane CarwinSubmission (arm-triangle choke)UFC 116July 3, 201022:19Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesDefended and unified the UFC Heavyweight Championship. Submission of the Night.
Win4–1Frank MirTKO (punches)UFC 100July 11, 200921:48Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesDefended and unified the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win3–1Randy CoutureTKO (punches)UFC 91November 15, 200823:07Las Vegas, Nevada, United StatesWon the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Win2–1Heath HerringDecision (unanimous)UFC 87August 9, 200835:00Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States
Loss1–1Frank MirSubmission (kneebar)UFC 81February 2, 200811:30Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win1–0Min-Soo KimSubmission (punches)Dynamite!! USAJune 2, 200711:09Los Angeles, California, United States

Pay-per-view bouts

No.EventFightDatePPV Buys
UFC 81Mir vs. Lesnar (co)February 2, 2008650,000
UFC 87Lesnar vs. Herring (co)August 9, 2008625,000
UFC 91Couture vs. LesnarNovember 15, 20081,010,000
UFC 100Lesnar vs. Mir 2July 11, 20091,300,000
UFC 116Lesnar vs. CarwinJuly 3, 20101,160,000
UFC 121Lesnar vs. VelasquezOctober 23, 20101,050,000
UFC 141Lesnar vs. OvereemDecember 30, 2011750,000
UFC 200Lesnar vs. Hunt (co)July 9, 20161,009,000
Total sales7,554,000

Championships and accomplishments

Collegiate wrestling

  • National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA Division I All-American (1999, 2000) NCAA Division I Heavyweight Champion (2000) Big Ten Conference Champion (1999, 2000)

  • National Junior College Athletic Association NJCAA All-American (1997, 1998) NJCAA Heavyweight Champion (1998) North Dakota State University Bison Tournament Champion (1997–1999)[318]

Mixed martial arts

  • Inside Fights Biggest Draw (2008)[319] Rookie of the Year (2008)[319]

  • Sherdog Awards Beatdown of the Year (2009)[320]

  • Sports Illustrated Top Newcomer of the Year (2008)[321]

  • Ultimate Fighting Championship UFC Heavyweight Championship (1 time) Two successful title defenses Submission of the Night (1 time)

  • World MMA Awards Breakthrough Fighter of the Year (2009)[322]

  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter Best Box Office Draw (2008–2010)[323] MMA Most Valuable Fighter (2008–2010)[323]

Professional wrestling

Lesnar is a four-time WWE Champion

Lesnar is a four-time WWE Champion

Lesnar is a record three-time Universal Champion; his first reign holds the record for the longest reign at 504 days, which is the 6th longest world championship reign in WWE history and the longest since 1988

Lesnar is a record three-time Universal Champion; his first reign holds the record for the longest reign at 504 days, which is the 6th longest world championship reign in WWE history and the longest since 1988[196]

  • Guinness World Records World record: Youngest person to win the WWE Championship (aged 25 years, 44 days)[324]

  • Inoki Genome Federation IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[2]

  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling IWGP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[73]

  • Ohio Valley Wrestling OVW Southern Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Shelton Benjamin[34]

  • Pro Wrestling Illustrated Feud of the Year (2003) vs. Kurt Angle[325] Feud of the Year (2015) vs. The Undertaker[325] Match of the Year (2003) vs. Kurt Angle in an Iron Man match on SmackDown! on September 16[325] Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (2018)[325] Most Improved Wrestler of the Year (2002)[325] Wrestler of the Year (2002, 2014)[325] Ranked No. 1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 2003[326]

  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter Best Brawler (2003)[327] Best Wrestling Maneuver (2002) F-5 Feud of the Year (2003) vs. Kurt Angle[328] Most Improved Wrestler (2002, 2003)[329] Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame (Class of 2015)[330]

  • WWE/World Wrestling Entertainment/Federation WWE Championship[1] (4 times)[331] WWE Universal Championship (3 times)[332] King of the Ring (2002)[42] Money in the Bank (Men's 2019) Royal Rumble (2003)[23] Slammy Award (5 times) Hashtag of the Year (2015) – #SuplexCity[333] Match of the Year (2015) – vs The Undertaker at Hell in a Cell[333] Rivalry of the Year (2015) – vs The Undertaker[333] "Tell Me You Didn't Just Say That" Moment of the Year (2015) – Coining "Suplex City" at WrestleMania 31[333] The OMG Shocking Moment of the Year (2014) – Ending The Undertaker's WrestleMania streak at WrestleMania XXX[334] WWE Year-End Award for Hottest Rivalry (2018) – vs. Roman Reigns[335]


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