More than living up to his reputation as The Beast Incarnate in both WWE and UFC, it isn’t surprising that Brock Lesnar would claim to live life with extremely few regrets. Accurately hailed as “The Next Big Thing” immediately upon arrival, Lesnar fast became the youngest WWE Champion in history, only to leave WWE while still in his mid-20s for a failed career in the NFL. His one pitfall merely inspired him to take over New Japan Pro Wrestling and then go legitimate with MMA in UFC, where he fast won a new type of Heavyweight Championship, this time without the benefit of kayfabe to help him.
Lesnar’s path of destruction has continued since his return to WWE, although his outside endeavors have increasingly fallen into disarray. Certain fans are even starting to feel Lesnar might have worn out his welcome in the WWE Universe as well, meaning the once regret free anomaly might start find them piling up so fast that all of his careers will be affected. Not only has he been making mistakes in his personal life, but he’s also been making some pretty questionable moves professionally, especially when the two worlds collide.
Due to his unique credentials and undeniable capabilities in the ring, Lesnar will likely continue to wreak havoc throughout the world of sports entertainment for as long as Vince McMahon is willing to keep him employed. Given how little Vince listens to his audience these days, that doesn’t necessarily mean Lesnar will remain popular or respected, though, because the more mistakes he makes, the harder it is for us to forget about them. Keep reading to learn about 15 things Brock Lesnar will always regret.
15. Agreeing To Lose Against John Cena At Extreme Rules
The sudden return of Brock Lesnar the night after WrestleMania XXVIII earned WWE one of the loudest crowd reactions in recent history, and yet all of that good will nearly flew out the window in his very first return match with the company. It made sense for Lesnar to instantly challenge John Cena, and Cena defeating him at least fit in with Vince McMahon’s plan at making WWE look stronger than legitimate fighters. The problem was what happened after the match, which was Cena getting up and cutting a promo about how he’d never get up, breaking the script that said he was supposed to get stretched out of the building. Lesnar took this as a double-cross, and nearly walked out of the company before the show even ended. Fans didn’t exactly agree with the move, either, feeling that Cena winning only placated Big Match John and Vince McMahon’s respective egos, hurting Brock and countless potential storylines in the process. Lesnar actually could have done something to fix this by fighting harder about the terms of his return, and this might be why he’s been so vigilant about the specifics of his contract ever since.
14. The First Goldberg Match
Comparisons were drawn between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg the second the former’s winning streak began, so one can hardly fault WWE for thinking the pair could put on a money match even 15 years later. Granted, 90% of muscular wrestlers get compared to Da Man at some point in their career, but Brock actually had looked like he had the long-term potential to make the match a reality. In a bizarre twist of fate, however, he decided to leave pro wrestling for football basically at the same point Lesnar-Goldberg I was announced for WrestleMania XX. Lesnar had been WWE Champion not one month earlier, and was already prepared to leave sports entertainment entirely, something the WWE fans did not appreciate in the slightest. Goldberg was on his way out as well, largely because he wasn’t feeling particularly accepted, either. The result was a strange match in front of an extremely hostile crowd, so disappointing that Lesnar actually pushed for the more recent program with Goldberg to make up for it. While he might not admit to any regrets, wanting a do-over is pretty darn close to being the same thing.
13. Leaving WWE In 2004
Speaking of Lesnar-Goldberg I, it would be impossible for us to ignore Lesnar’s controversial exit from WWE in 2004. Even so, truth be told, we’re not entirely sure he regrets it. Lesnar managed to become arguably the most accomplished legitimate athlete ever to compete for WWE, and though it didn’t start immediately upon his exit, the fact he succeeded so greatly nonetheless justified his departure and then some. All that said, there’s probably still some small part of Lesnar that thinks about what could have been. At the age of 27, he had already become the biggest attraction in WWE, and the sky seemed to be the limit for how much he could accomplish. Taking eight years away from the company meant eight years without title shots, main events, and most importantly, million dollar contracts that ballooned with his every appearance. Of course, the flipside is that he also earned a significant number of millions away from WWE, and his time off heavily influenced what he later accomplished, as well. In the end, we’re going to leave this one as a push, with the acknowledgement that in the very least certain fans wish he went the other way on this one, whether Brock himself actually feels that way or not.
12. His Time In The NFL
For all his success in WWE and UFC, three letters that Brock Lesnar found himself unable to conquer were NFL. While Lesnar was more than able to prove himself as a legitimate fighter in MMA, he had a bit of trouble when it came to other professional sports, especially football. He nonetheless attracted the interest of several major league teams when he announced he was considering switching careers, ultimately signing with the Minnesota Vikings. Despite having his skills heavily diminished during a motorcycle injury, Lesnar played a number of preseason games for the team wearing the number 69. Perhaps because of the injury or perhaps simply because he wasn’t great at football, Lesnar was cut from the team before regular play even began. He was offered to play in Europe but declined, not wanting to leave the country or his family. More than once, Lesnar has said he has no regrets about trying his hand at football even though things didn’t pan out. Even so, he obviously wishes things had gone better, or else he wouldn’t have bothered trying to play football to begin with.
11. Finding Out He Was Colorblind And The Implications
There are plenty of things in life that aren’t necessarily in our control and yet we regret them anyway, and these sorts of regrets have plagued the seemingly physically-perfect Brock Lesnar for longer than anyone could have guessed. Lesnar’s earliest indication his body might have been less impressive than it looked on first glance came at a fairly young age, when he joined the National Guard at 17. Seeking danger and excitement, Brock hoped to work with explosives in the bomb squad, only to soon discover he suffered red-green colorblindness. This obviously didn’t affect his athletic career, but it meant a career disarming bombs was totally out of the question. The National Guard confined him to a desk job, which he lost after failing a computer test. While there’s not really anything he could do about the color-blindness, had he known about it beforehand, he probably wouldn’t have wasted his time pursuing a career he was ill-equipped for. On the other hand, it probably doesn’t pass through his mind much, as it hardly stopped him from achieving his later success.
10. Injuring Bob Holly
Similar to having a lifelong physical condition, Brock Lesnar doesn’t necessarily take the blame for breaking Bob “Hardcore” Holly’s neck during a match in 2002. Wrestlers all know the risk heading into matches, and even Holly has since acknowledged Brock made a mistake and he holds no malice over the incident. That said, Holly spent over a year on the shelf because Lesnar dropped him during a powerbomb, losing a year’s worth of paychecks on top of the physical strain the injury put on his body. It has to hurt a professional on a mental and emotional level every time they damage a co-worker in this way. For Lesnar specifically, this was one of his first major missteps in the business, and though it didn’t deter him from conquering the world, it gave him a dangerous reputation that young wrestlers want to avoid. In a manner of speaking, it actually might have hurt his career a little by leading to one of his weakest PPV appearances, when he battled Holly at the 2004 Royal Rumble upon his return.
9. The Shooting Star Press That Nearly Killed Him
WrestleMania is the biggest show of the year, and Brock Lesnar wanted to go out for his first main event at the Grandest Stage of Them All. The big moment came in 2003, after Lesnar won the Royal Rumble and earned the shot to challenge Kurt Angle for the WWE Championship. Lesnar had barely spent a full year in the company at that point, and yet it still felt like he completely earned his shot, solidified throughout the match itself where both men put on a spectacular performance. The coup de grace was supposed to be Lesnar doing a backflip off the top rope and hitting Angle with a Shooting Star Press, but he didn’t quite stick the landing, crashing fast first into the match and jamming his neck in the process. It was immediately obviously Lesnar had hurt himself bad, and it was later revealed he suffered a concussion in addition to the damage to his neck. Amazingly, he stood up and gave Angle an F5 to win the match, but it goes without saying absolutely everyone involved would have preferred he hit the move properly.
8. Getting Addicted To Painkillers And Alcohol
Every addict regrets their first hit, and the only thing about Brock Lesnar that’s different from any other addict is how well he hid his problems at the start of his career. Though few people were aware at the time, Lesnar later admitted he was addicted to both alcohol and painkillers during his landmark initial run in WWE. His problems with Vicodin and vodka were so out of control that he barely remembers “an entire two years” of his career. His pain and therefore abuse got worse after the WrestleMania XIX botch, but it seems like the problem started well before then. He was at least on the sauce as early as May of 2002, when he was a key player in the infamous Plane Ride From Hell, shooting wrestling Curt Hennig at 40,000 feet and putting the entire flight in danger. Lesnar didn’t receive much of the blame at the time, but in hindsight his addictions played a huge role, and things only got worse from there albeit in less public fashion. On the brighter side, it seems like he eventually got things under control and is off drugs today.
7. Working For NJPW
Once it was clear football was out of the question for Brock, he decided to return to pro wrestling, although not the WWE Universe. For whatever reason, rather than resume working for the McMahon’s, Lesnar made the trip overseas and signed a contract with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he won the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from Kazuyuki Fujita in his debut match, which also featured NJPW legend Masahiro Chono. Lesnar continued to dominate over opponents like Akebono, Manubu Nakanishi, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Giant Bernard, but that doesn’t mean he entirely loved his time in the Land of the Rising Sun. Later describing his entire tenure with the company as “a nightmare,” Lesnar constantly faced work visa issues due to his status as an immigrant, which eventually caused him to vacate the title and leave the company and country almost without warning. He later returned to lose the belt to Kurt Angle, the same month he won his MMA debut. As with his health issues, the situation here was pretty much out of his control, and all Lesnar could do at the time or in retrospect was wish working as an immigrant in Japan was a smoother process.
6. Losing His UFC Debut
In stark contrast to his lack of success in football, Lesnar immediately became a hit in MMA when he won his debut against Min Soo Kim in barely over a minute. The only catch was that Lesnar made his legitimate fighting debut for Hero’s, a subsidiary of K-1 Golden Holdings Limited, better known for promoting kickboxing and karate events. That doesn’t necessarily make the win any less impressive, although it still meant Lesnar could embarrass himself on the major stage in a quick defeat during his UFC debut, which was exactly what happened. After submitting to Frank Mir in 1:30, Lesnar’s MMA prospects suddenly looked a lot less hot than they had when he worked for the smaller-scale company. Of course, he turned things around in his very next fight against Heath Herring, and only one more fight later he won the UFC Championship by knocking out Randy Couture. Lesnar’s career kept going along smoothly when he avenged his loss against Mir a couple months later, but even the Beast Incarnate would have to admit things would have been even better if he managed to win that first bout.
5. Making Deeply Homophobic Comments
By dominating the world of professional fighting on multiple levels, Brock Lesnar started to cultivate an image of himself as an emotionless killer who cares only about destruction and taking care of his family. Part of the reason for this secrecy about the real Brock and his personal life probably stems from his staunch political views, openly admitting he’s a conservative Republican who hates Obamacare and would refuse to give up his guns unless out of his cold, dead hands. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions on the political spectrum, and yet Lesnar took things way, way too far in a 2004 interview where he was directly quoted to say, “I don’t like gays. Write that down in your little notebook. I don’t like gays.” It was bad enough to boldly declare such a hateful statement, and doubling down by repeating himself somehow made it a hundred times worse. The comment was allegedly made after a young woman told Brock her male friend was interested, and the reporter claimed to be too modest to print Lesnar’s full reaction to the statement. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, pretty much everyone can agree this level of homophobia is abhorrent, and it’s amazing he doesn’t receive more criticism over it to this day.
4. Getting In Trouble With The Law For Hunting Mishaps
In addition to football, pro wrestling, and MMA, another activity Lesnar privies himself a master of big game hunting. Proudly boasting he was a redneck his entire life, Lesnar has also been hunting since he was a child, and plenty of video evidence exists on YouTube to support the notion he more than knows how to kill an animal with the proper artillery. As it would turn out, however, he doesn’t necessarily know all the rules when it comes to doing so. Of course, given his politics, he’s probably the sort of person who doesn’t much care for gun and hunting laws to begin with. He still needs to follow them, though, and he failed to do so on a hunting trip to Alberta, Canada in late 2010. He was accused of having killed a mule deer buck and left its body in the field, only taking the head as a trophy. The Alberta Professional Outfitters Society called it unethical and illegal, charging him with leaving meat to rot and illegal possession of wildlife. While those two specific charges were dropped, Lesnar still plead guilty to improperly tagging an animal and was fined $1,750.
3. Getting Sick At The Peak Of His UFC Powers
Arguably a whole lot worse than his red-green colorblindness, Brock Lesnar discovered he was suffering from diverticulitis in late 2009. Doctors who diagnosed him believed that due to the severe damage to his intestines it had probably been over a full year before he realized anything was wrong. Lesnar also suffered from mononucleosis at this time, forcing him to vacate the UFC Championship. Making matters worse, Lesnar initially sought treatment while in Canada, where he claimed to receive “Third World treatment” and developed a deep-seated hatred of that country’s healthcare system. He eventually had surgery and recovered, returning to UFC and defeating Shane Carwin to solidify his status as Heavyweight Champion. Despite feeling healthier and stronger than ever before, he soon lost the belt to Cain Velasquez, the agony of defeat inspiring him to leave MMA behind for the next six years. As was the case with his military career, that Lesnar’s time in UFC was somewhat hindered by physical abnormalities is hardly his fault, and yet it’s probably one of the pieces of his life he wishes he could’ve changed the most.
2. Taking So Long To Fight Again
With eight years between his two runs at the top of WWE, you would think Brock Lesnar knows better than anyone the downfall of waiting too long to make a comeback. He managed to cut things in half when going the other way around, spending four years in WWE between stints in the UFC, and yet the way that turned out would indicate he might’ve done better had he tried making his legitimate fighting return a little earlier. Four years isn’t that long of a time, especially when you consider MMA competitors at Lesnar’s level only fight once or twice a year in the first place, but it was enough to greatly diminish his standing to the extent his comeback wasn’t for any championships or against a top star, merely an exhibition match against an older fighter with a worse record. Had Lesnar worked out a WWE contract that allowed him one fight a year while continuing his short-term schedule, maybe he would faired been better in the octagon during his dalliances away from the squared circle.
1. Getting Caught Doping In 2016
Seriously driving home that last point about Lesnar staying away from UFC for too long, the Beast proved his skills might not be so Incarnate after all when he was caught doping prior to his fight with Mark Hunt. Lesnar initially was ruled as the winner by unanimous decision, but the result has since been overturned to a no contest due to the discovery he had abusing banned substances during training. Lesnar tested positive for the estrogen blocker clomiphene, earning him a $250,000 fine and a one year suspension from fighting. Hunt has since demanded to receive the rest of Lesnar’s sizable purse for winning, although no official response has been given to his request. What has happened is a complete 180 on Lesnar’s reputation, shattering all of his legitimate credibility with an accusation that he only achieved his success through illicit means. The reputation of WWE was hit even worse when they refused to punish Lesnar for his actions in UFC. In today’s athletic world, getting caught using PEDs is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to a performer, and yet Lesnar has barely commented on the situation. It can only be assumed he deeply regrets what happened, and at least wishes he never got caught.