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If Brock Lesnar Beats Frank Mir, It's Good for UFC and Bad for MMA

At UFC 81, former WWE pro wrestler Brock Lesnar will make his UFC debut against Frank Mir, a former UFC heavyweight champ. Here's how UFC is promoting the event:

UFC President Dana White says in that promotional video, "If Brock Lesnar can back up all the things he's saying, he might become the biggest star in mixed martial arts."

White might be right about that -- Lesnar is already a big star among wrestling fans, and he's probably the second-most famous fighter UFC has under contract -- but making Lesnar a UFC star would be bad for the sport of mixed martial arts.

For MMA as a sport to be taken seriously by the general public, it needs the general public to think the best fighters in the sport are legitimate athletes. If someone like Lesnar can make a transition from pro wrestling to MMA stardom, it will be hard for the sport to be taken any more seriously than wrestling is. I realize that Lesnar has credentials as a real athlete in collegiate wrestling, I'm glad White got Lesnar to sign up with UFC, and I'm curious to see how Lesnar does. But I'm concerned that if Lesnar succeeds, he'll be doing it at the expense of the sport of mixed martial arts.