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For Better or Worse, TUF Coaching Gig a Chance to Show Some Personality

There's a decent chance that Brock Lesnar may not survive his "Ultimate Fighter" coaching stint. Come on, six weeks in Vegas, away from the sanctuary of his Minnesota compound? With cameras in his face for the better part of every day? All while hopeful young fighters pester him for something resembling guidance?

For the reclusive, misanthropic Lesnar we've come to know and be fascinated by, it sounds like a prison sentence. It sounds like the exact opposite of everything he claims to enjoy.

Instead of privacy, he gets constant attention. Instead of whitetail deer and a barber who knows just how he likes his crew-cut sculpted, he gets gas station slot machines and awkward gym time alongside his next opponent, Junior dos Santos.

If his head literally explodes on camera, I won't be terribly surprised.

Okay, so I'm exaggerating a tad, but you get the point.

We may never know the full story of what UFC president Dana White had to do to get Lesnar to agree to this (chances are it involved a bunch of money), but give the man credit. Convincing Lesnar to do TUF is on par with convincing Lindsay Lohan to do 'Celebrity Rehab,' or maybe getting Bret Michaels to do a show that doesn't involve groupies and/or hair extensions.

And yet, White pulled it off, and in the process he's given the TUF franchise a much-needed shot in the arm, while also lining up a huge heavyweight showdown between Lesnar and JDS at the end of the season. It's a no-lose scenario for everyone, except, perhaps, Lesnar.

As fighters like Matt Serra and Rashad Evans have showed us in the past, the upside of serving as a coach on TUF is that it gives fans a chance to see your personality beyond the broad strokes of pre-fight marketing. As fighters like Matt Hughes and "Rampage" Jackson have demonstrated, that's also the bad thing about it.

If you're an interested, engaged, down-to-earth coach, it shows on TUF. If you'd rather take a nap or ask your fighters to compare you to heroes of the Bible, that'll show too.

The job of TUF coach isn't even really all that instruction-oriented. When White said it was "one of the dumbest things [he's] ever heard" to suggest that Lesnar, who has fewer than ten pro fights, isn't qualified to coach the show, he was right – but not because of any of Lesnar's accomplishments.

The truth is, the coaches on the show don't really have to coach. That's why they get to bring all those other guys. Georges St. Pierre opted to train alongside his team last season while letting John Danaher and Greg Jackson handle the heavy lifting, and that was fine. We all realize (or at least we should) that simply being really good at something does not mean you know how to teach it to others. In fact, the more gifted you are at something, the less you're usually able to understand how or why other people struggle with it.

This seems especially true of Lesnar, whose sudden success in MMA had a lot to do with his freakish natural ability. It's not as if he can teach his reality TV fight team how to be bigger, stronger, and faster than everyone they face. At the same time, it's likely that several of his fighters will have more pro fights to their credit than he does, and maybe also more total mat time in MMA gyms.

That's fine, as long as Lesnar realizes what he's really there for, and doesn't treat the experience as if it's a six-week dental appointment that he can't wait to be done with. Obviously the man knows some good coaches, so let them coach.

Lesnar can train alongside them in the gym, crank up the Slayer to get everyone pumped before practice, maybe spout an inspirational phrase or two. All he has to do is appear interested in the proceedings, and yet not overbearing. He needs to avoid the "Rampage" pitfall of ignoring his fighters until it's too late to help them, while also not making the Hughes mistake of trying to mold everyone in his own image.

Mostly, this is a chance for Lesnar to let fans get to know him a little more. It's also a chance to at least appear to care about the careers of other fighters. Really, all Lesnar has to do is not screw it up by eye-rolling his way through this thing and constantly reminding everyone – from the UFC, to the Spike TV producers, to the fighters and the home audience – what a giant favor he's doing them just by showing up every day.

If he can do all that, this little venture will undoubtedly be a success that will lead to more fame and more money once it's done. Who knows, he might even surprise himself and have a little bit of fun along the way.

Okay, probably not fun. But then, that's what the money's for, and we know Lesnar's a fan of that.

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