Brock Lesnar's return has been far from quiet.
Lesnar, who has been entered into the USADA testing pool, has been controversially granted an exemption to the USADA provision requiring a four-month notice for athletes coming out of retirement. This exemption is a source of much ire for his UFC 200 opponent Mark Hunt who believes Lesnar has likely been using PEDS. But PEDS are not the only drugs to come up recently in discussions with Lesnar.
On Thursday, Lesnar went on ESPN's Highly Questionable with Dan Le Batard and Bomani Jones in a bit of promotion for his return to the UFC. The interview touched on an assortment of topics, including Lesnar's abuse of alcohol and prescription drugs during his first stint with the WWE and what led him down that road.
"That was the early years of me when I was a young performer in the wrestling ring. You go through things in life such as you become rich and you become famous and you're naïve and you're young and to top it all off you're travelling 360 days a year. The wrestling is fake but the things that go on in the ring - the ring is still a very non-forgiving environment to be in so you're dealing with a lot of different injuries at one time.
"Not only that, I'm not a man to be on the highway. I'm not a man to be in a hotel room every night. I'm not a man to be in an airplane every day and it took all that for me to discover that and to cope with all that was my best friends, vodka and Vicodin."
Lesnar has been very honest before about his use of prescription drugs and the role they played in him leaving the WWE to try out for the NFL, and ultimately to him competing in MMA. The drugs and alcohol also had a hand in an impromptu mid-flight bout of wrestling between Lesnar and Curt "Mr. Perfect" Hennig which was part of the infamous flight dubbed "The Plane Ride From Hell."
"It was full of booze and Vicodin and being stuck on an airplane for seven hours on an overseas trip. What else are you gonna do? Besides maybe pass out and fall asleep or get into trouble. We did both. We got into a scuffle on the plane. It's called whisky wrestling. Have you ever done it? You should try it sometime. [Laughs]"
Allegedly, the scuffle broke out because Hennig called into question Lesnar's amateur credentials and boasted that he was the better wrestler; the two began wrestling in the aisles and eventually had to be separated by several others on the flight. Lesnar doesn't recall what happened.
"Honestly I was drunk and high. I couldn't even tell you what happened. All I know is when we got off the plane we got reprimanded and that's it."
The drugs and alcohol were not only for dealing with the mounting injuries suffered in the ring; aside from the physical toll, the work schedule of the average WWE performer is mentally grueling as well. The combination led to his initial departure from the WWE and is a key reason why he only performs part time for them now, an arrangement which allows for him to take this one-off fight at UFC 200.
"When you're young, it's fresh and it's cool but is it really cool to be up all night, not getting any sleep, and then getting on an airplane, getting off an airplane, trying to find a place to eat, dealing with people at the rental car service, dealing with TSA, dealing with the hotel, dealing with the loss of your luggage? What's cool about it? [Laughs.]
"Anybody that's a superstar, anybody that's a movie star, it's not what you think it is. It's not all smoke and mirrors and it's not all glitz and glamour. It is hard work. It's a full-time job. It's not very glamorous. You have to go and perform every single night in front of different people that haven't seen you before and it's like you're a hamster on a treadmill. That's how I felt.
"I'm thankful I'm able to work part-time in that environment and step back into the octagon. I feel very fortunate."
Lesnar will face Mark Hunt in the co-main event of UFC 200 on July 9th in Las Vegas, Nevada. You can watch the entire interview below in which Lesnar talks about the last non-sanctioned fight he got in and a practical joke he played on his wife.