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Fightweets: Will Brock Lesnar fight again in the UFC?

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We've come to the end of the most eventful stretch in the history of mixed martial arts, in which a string of four fight events were overshadowed by a pair of major potential drug-test failures, and that minor little matter of the UFC's sale.

Well, actually, we thought we were done, and then Brock Lesnar popped for a potential USADA violation late Friday.

So, with no lack of subject matter, lets get right into another edition of Fightweets.

Lesnar's drug-test fallout

@dpop2: Chances Brock fights again? Chances if Brock fights again he gets title shot?

Well, my original answer to this was that Brock had redemption after beating Mark Hunt at UFC 200, a whole lot of money, and a big chip he can play when his WWE contract comes due in the spring of 2018. Then, after Fightweets was done and put into our content system, late Friday it was announced that Lesnar had a potential USADA violation based on an out-of-competition test administered on June 28.

It's pretty clear by now that USADA's process for revealing test results is far from perfect. Giving Lesnar an exemption to come off the retired list and fight on short-ish notice was an eyebrow-raiser. Taking a test two weeks in advance, and then not revealing the results until a week after Hunt took a 10-8 beating in the final round, make for terrible optics, and Hunt, who is demanding half of Lesnar's fight purse or his release from the UFC, has every right to be pissed.

And this doesn't even take the timing of the Jon Jones test into account. USADA simply has to get better at this process.

As for your original question, we of course have to hold off on judgement here because of the clumsy way in which USADA informs the public on potential violations while keeping the cause of the violation private. Maybe it's another Yoel Romero-like supplement case. And USADA has confirmed that Lesnar passed multiple tests. Either way, if he's suspended for two years, I mean, he still makes off with a huge stash of money even with the inevitable fines. He'll be on the other side of 40 two years from now. This could mean his MMA days are done, but between Bellator's unofficial legends division, and the fact Dan Henderson looks like he's about to fight for a UFC title, we know by now to never say never.

Fedor, Fabio, and WMMAA

@RuckerYeah: What is the World Mixed Martial Arts Association and why should I care what they have to say about the Fedor fight?

Great questions. Like you, Ruck, I woke up on Friday and found out that some organization called WMMAA had overturned the results of the Fedor Emelianenko-Fabio Maldanado fight on June 17 in St. Petersburg, Russia, and declared Emilianenko's split-decision victory a draw.

This was portrayed as a reputable news item, despite the fact that barely anyone, prior to Friday, had ever heard of the WMMAA, nor had it been cited as a credible authority by anyone, ever, on any matter related to MMA. At first I had to double-check that it wasn't simply a misspelling of WAMMA, the silly attempt at creating a sanctioning body about a decade ago which gave Fedor a title no one took seriously.

Don't get me wrong, I'm well aware the decision in favor of Emelianenko was pretty bad. But having some obscure group, who derive their authority from absolutely nothing tangible, act like they have the power to meddle is an even bigger farce. Sherdog and Wikipedia, the sport's de facto record keepers, nevertheless blindly went along with this and changed the result to a draw, even though, in the latter's case, WMMAA doesn't even have a Wikipedia page.

I mean, really. Let's run with this logic. I hereby announce the formation of the Intergalactic MMA Association, and as such, I officially overturn WMMAA's decision. And hey! I'm a New England Patriots fan. My brand-new World NFL Association has formally overturned Tom Brady's suspension.

No one would take this seriously, of course. And no one should take WMMAA's ruling seriously. Their ruling was based on allegations of conflict of interest, while WMMAA itself has Fedor listed as its honorary president. Come again?

What's next for Jon Jones?

@Dr_Kwame: Is Jones' career over?

Doubt it. Granted, the former UFC light heavyweight champion could be on the shelf as long as two years pending the results of his upcoming hearing, but even in a worst-case scenario, he'd still be 30 years old when he became eligible again.

Now, will the UFC rush Jones right back into a high-profile spotlight upon his return? That's highly unlikely, at least as long as Dana White remains company president. Last week was supposed to be the culmination of Jones' comeback story, and instead it turned out to be among the biggest of his self-induced fiascos. White would be nuts to trust him with headlining another giant event out of the gate.

But that said, you don't just banish the most naturally talented fighter the sport has ever seen for life, even after a string of transgressions. Jones is going to have to rebuild trust with both the fans and his promoters. My guess is, when he does eventually return, the first time out we'll see him in a position similar to Cain Velasquez last weekend, who was put in the main-card opener after being a headliner for so long for entirely different reasons. Either way, this won't be the end of Jones.

Tony Ferguson

@dpop2: I know Ferguson is winning fights but do we really see him as a contender?? He gets hit a lot and lacks refinement in his game

First off, I think Ferguson's thrilling matchup with Lando Vannata on Wednesday night at UFC Fight Night 91 speaks more to Vannata's upside than to holes in Ferguson's game. We don't all sleep on prospects like this very often anymore, but in hindsight, we should have sized up Vannata's pedigree as a JacksonWink prospect before writing him off as just another short-notice guy happy to be there. I can't wait to see him fight again.

As for Ferguson, he's an exciting, innovative, go-with-the-flow fighter. His ability to freelance and improvise on the spot can help him defeat anyone in the division, Eddie Alvarez included. His defense is something less than lockdown, for sure, and that means he can also get caught by Alvarez or a number of high level guys. But that's been half the fun of watching Ferguson get this far. Between his excitement level in the cage, and his rapidly improving ability to talk a big game, a title fight seems an inevitability.

The sale

@ItsJustARide94: Did the UFC sell at the right time? I can't imagine it ever being worth more than it is now.

Sure looks that way, doesn't it? WME-IMG purchased the UFC for just over $4 billion. Zuffa had by far its most profitable year in 2015, doing $157,806,000 in profit. That was during a period in which every conceivable break went right in terms of star power, grudge matches, major events buildup, and results which pushed things forward.

Needless to say, it doesn't always go like this. The fight business will always be cyclical. The UFC got to where it was in large part because the Fertittas and White were passionate believers in their product, and stuck with it long after most business folks would have pulled the plug. Will a distant corporate boss looking at spreadsheets be willing to stick it out when the next down cycle hit? And what happens if some MBA who doesn't know a Kimura from an Americana starts trying to overrule Joe Silva on his matchmaking?

Be that as it may, the valuation is as much about the projection of future revenues. A bidding war is expected when the FOX deal comes due in 2018. UFC content is one of the few things that have gained real traction for FS1. ESPN could overpay just to get it away from FOX. FOX will no doubt be looking to keep it. And the valuation also assumes they'll be able to make major inroad in lucrative markets like China.

Will it pan out that way? Tough to say. But if you're the Fertitta brothers, and there's a bunch of potential headaches on tap, such as the antitrust suit, and at the same time, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reposition yourself in Las Vegas circles from being the proprietors of local casinos to moving into the Strip A-list as well as involvement in a potential NFL team, why wouldn't you take it?

@deathbyfoui: Hey Dave yeah, I was wondering now with Lorenzo being "out" of the picture now, who is Dana's boss?

Lorenzo's not quite out yet, as it will be a couple months before the transition is finalized. But your question is one of the more interesting aspects of the new-era UFC. WME-IMG was adamant in keeping White on board. But what happens when White's inevitable next controversy flares up? Or the next time Joe Rogan gets in hot water for an off-color comment on the broadcast? Will the new owners be as willing to cut White slack as Fertitta was? White isn't used to be being overruled on major matters, and he now has more than enough money than he will ever need, so he can pretty much do what he wants. Which leads us to ...

Dana and Trump

@AMMenEspanol: Whether folks in MMA are for or against Trump, what to make of White speaking at the RNC next week?

I'd love to be a fly on the wall when White explains to his partner as UFC part-owners, Flash Entertainment, which is owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, that's he's going to go speak for a presidential candidate who wants to keep Muslims out of the country. Or to all the Latino fighters on the roster why he'll speak for a guy who wants to build a fence to keep them out. Or how a company that is pushing their "We Are All Fighters" Reebok t-shirt for LGBTQ equality will go speak to a group with an over-the-top homophobic platform. Tim Tebow, who is outspoken in his conservative principles and religious beliefs, declared he wanted nothing to do with next week's circus in Cleveland, after it was announced he'd be there. Maybe White should follow his lead.

End of the line?

@passionatepatk: Should Gomi and Diego retire, and if they do what are their legacies?

I know there's an unwritten rule that you're not supposed to tell fighter to retire. But does anyone actually enjoy seeing Takanori Gomi and Diego Sanchez, both of whom were TKO'd in the first round of their respective fights at UFC 200, take beatings? I know I don't. Both fighters' legacies as two of the most exciting, fan friendly, all-action competitors of their generation are already well secured. That said, JacksonWink coach Brandon Gibson told me last fall "they're going to have to take Diego out kicking and screaming," and you get the sense it will be the same for Gomi.

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