However, UFC president White said he was not upset with the way the situation unfolded.
“I wasn’t p****d at all,” White said about Lesnar’s decision during an Instagram live session on Tuesday. “Brock had a good run here. It’s been fun.
“Listen to fight in this business you have to be 100 percent invested. You’ve got to be in. It’s not where his head was. He made the right decision.”
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Lesnar, who is currently signed with WWE, hasn’t officially won a fight in the Octagon since 2010, when he submitted heavy hitting knockout artist Shane Carwin to retain his heavyweight title in the UFC 116 main event.
The former NCAA Division 1 wrestler did earn a unanimous decision win over Mark Hunt at UFC 200 but the bout was overturned to a No Contest (NC) after it was revealed that Lesnar tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
Daniel Cormier, the former light heavyweight champ, will now defend his heavyweight title against Stipe Miocic at UFC 241. The rematch takes place on August 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Sunday night will see WWE make history once again with the first ever all-women’s pay-per-view Evolution.
Emanating from the Nassau Coliseum in New York City the show will be headlined by Ronda Rousey putting her Raw Women’s Championship on the line against Nikki Bella, and includes a card featuring the biggest female talent from WWE both past and present.
It’s just the latest chapter in WWE’s evolution of the women’s division, and at the centre of that movement has been the company’s Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon.
Ahead of what will be a landmark weekend for the company her Grandfather created, the Raw Commissioner spoke to talkSPORT about her dreams finally become reality thanks to WWE Evolution.
Stephanie, this weekend sees the first ever all-women’s pay-per-view. How much are you looking forward to it and what match are you most excited about?
I’m really looking forward to all of them, those that have been announced. Ronda Rousey versus Nikki Bella for the Raw Women’s Championship, then there’s Becky versus Charlotte, which is going to go down as one of the greatest rivalries of all time for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
Trish and Lita are coming back and the NXT Women’s Championship match between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler I think is going to be a contender to steal the show. The list goes on and this is going to be an incredible show. It’s going to be high quality, incredible action and storytelling and I think we are going to leave our audience wanting more. WWE Evolution is the crucial and next step in the evolution of women’s wrestling in WWE.
Given your performance at WrestleMania this year, were you not tempted in joining the ladies with a match of your own?
Fire and foremost I’m just privileged to be the voice of this movement. This has been a movement that has been happening ever since women stepped into a ring, and that’s every woman in every promotion who has made this happen and helped pushed this through. In terms of my match at WrestleMania, I wouldn’t say I’m a skilled or accomplished wrestler in the ring and it was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done in my life.
Getting in the ring with Ronda Rousey alongside Triple H and Kurt Angle. I currently don’t have any plans to compete at Evolution because it’s about our women’s division, however I’m always open to getting in the ring if it’s best for business.
Trish and Lita are in action and we’ve some big names announced for the Battle Royal, but can we expect further legends to return for this landmark event?
This is WWE you should always expect the unexpected. This is the evolution of WWE so ‘Then, Now, Forever’ represents more than a tagline for us. It really does represent where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going to go. We try our best to represent that throughout our programming and Evolution will be no different.
You mention Ronda Rousey, how important has she become for the division and this pay-per-view?
Ronda is absolutely key in opening doors. She has star power and presence, and she brings such a diverse history and background.
From competing in the Olympics and becoming the first ever UFC Women’s Champion, to being in moves and being a philanthropist, an entrepreneur and even an executive producer. She has absolutely increased the interest in women’s wrestling in WWE and has brightened the spotlight for all competitors, which is exactly what Ronda wanted to do. She wants to raise the bar for the women’s division and bring a light to it that has never shined as bright before.
There’s such a talented pool of female stars in WWE right now. Outside of Ronda do you have a personal favourite you like watching?
You can’t just highlight one. It’s not just Alexa Bliss, it’s Becky Lynch, it’s Charlotte Flair, it’s Ember Moon, it’s Naomi, it’s Sasha Banks, it’s every single person on our women’s roster that are bringing a it to a different level.
They are exciting to watch, they are incredible personalities and they are incredibly talented in the ring. They are performers, they are professional athletes and they are continuing to raise their own level of competition.
How much further can this evolution go? Are there any targets left for WWE Women’s division?
At the moment I still think there are targets. Ultimately will we have achieved success when we’re no longer talking about the difference between men and women’s wrestling?
Perhaps. I do want to see a women’s main event at WrestleMania, even though all matches are main events I’d really like to see a women’s match close the show. I think that would be a real crowning achievement for this movement.
When you first began working with you father in this business could you ever envisage how far the women’s division could go?
It was something I dreamed of every day and now our division is paving the way for women everywhere, no matter what industry you’re in. I was out to dinner the other night with my daughters and three little girls in this restaurant stopped me for autographs. I don’t usually get stopped, because it’s usually my husband so it caught me off guard a little bit, but I asked them about Evolution and they were so excited and they told me who they like and who they look up to.
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The thing with WWE is that we are showing diversity because it’s so it’s important to see yourself in true success stories, whether that’s in business, sports or media, you need to see it to know it’s possible. We have all different body types, we have all different ethnicities, different religious backgrounds, personal beliefs – you name it. We really encompass all the different beliefs in the world, that’s our universe and that’s our roster. So we want little girls to be able to see these women achieve success, achieve their dreams, because we want every girl to know that she is capable of anything she wants to be.
Watch WWE Evolution this Sunday on the WWE Network
And it appears the all-star match-up could be a step closer, after Barrett – AKA Stu Bennett, who is now an executive and commentator at UK-based World of Sport Wrestling – called out Rooney on talkSPORT on Friday.
Alexa Bliss has her sights set on ‘The Baddest Woman On The Planet’ this Sunday at SummerSlam.
WWE has seen it’s fair share of crossover athletes over the years, but few have made an impact as big as Ronda Rousey. The UFC Hall of Famer made her WWE debut at this year’s WrestleMania to much acclaim, and has since played a major role on WWE television as one of Raw’s biggest draws.
This Sunday the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion gets another shot at gold, when she challenges WWE Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss as WWE invades Brooklyn once again for SummerSlam.
Bliss, a five-time champion in her own right and arguably the best all-round performer on the WWE roster, will put her strap on the line against ‘The Baddest Woman On The Planet’ and despite Rousey’s reputation and her impressive start in WWE, the champion can’t wait to step in the ring with someone she calls a sporting icon.
Alexa, this Sunday you go one-on-one with Ronda Rousey. What do you make of Rousey’s impact on sports and sports-entertainment?
I’ve watched her career, and I really do think she is what she says she is ‘The Baddest Woman On The Planet’. She’s a UFC Hall of Famer, a forefront in women’s sports in general. She’s so real and so tough and a real inspiration. I feel like she’s made such a name for herself as one of the top athletes in the world, so being in the ring with her will be an honour.
Especially seeing her grow as a WWE performer, I’m excited to see how good she gets two, three years from now. I’m happy to be part of the process and I can’t wait to face her at SummerSlam.
What do you say to those who have suggested that title shots have come too early for Rousey and they she hasn’t paid her dues in WWE. Has her rise been unfair?
She may not have paid her dues in the ring, but she’s done it in other ways. She’s literally a sports icon and paid her own dues to get there. If she wants to step into our world and do what we do I welcome it with open arms, it’s not unfair at all.
With Ronda being as popular as she is and yourself a multi-time champion, is there an argument for the match to headline SummerSlam on Sunday?
With the women’s evolution going the way it is I say why not. You have a five-time women’s champion going up against a UFC Hall of Famer, so why not?
I think that would be awesome. However, this is Ronda’s first big pay-per-view singles match, so it’s going to be a big moment wherever it is on the card.
The title match marks another notch in your already impressive WWE CV. Can you pick out a highlight of what’s been a whirlwind of a five years with WWE?
Nothing ever tops your first ever title win and I did love winning the title from Becky Lynch at TLC – especially because my whole family was there. But I did love my match with Bayley that saw me become first ever woman to hold both the Raw and Smackdown championships. I would say going into WrestleMania as champion too, but for some reason I can’t seem to retain at WrestleMania!
You’ve been one the major players in the revolution of women in WWE, so with October’s first all-female pay-per-view on the horizon who would your dream opponent be?
Trish Stratus! I always watched Trish growing up and it would so much fun being in the ring with her. Especially because I missed her at the Royal Rumble because I wasn’t part of that match. I’d love to mix it up with her. If that opportunity comes, I’d be really excited about it.
One thing we are yet to see from Alexa is a run as a good guy. Is this something you’d be interested in doing at some point down the road?
I think it be fun to be a good guy down the line. I have a different mentality when being a bad guy, as I feel I shouldn’t do flashy wrestling moves or certain athletic skills, so it be cool to show what else I could do other than talk crap on a microphone. However, I do enjoy being a bad guy so much more. I started out in NXT as good guy and it didn’t fit, so maybe one day I could go down that route again but for now I’m having too much fun.
What’s next for Alexa Bliss? You’ve won both championships, been Miss Money In The Bank, so what ambitions do you have left in WWE?
I would say main event WrestleMania. I’d say that’s the same for all the women, but definitely for me and to see that women’s evolution cemented.
SummerSlam will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. UK viewers can tune in on Sky Sports Box Office or watch on the award-winning WWE Network. Sign up now and get your first month free from www.wwe.com/wwenetwork
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