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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wrestling

Dana White confirms Brock Lesnar is returning to UFC

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar’s current deal with the WWE is set to expire at some point after WrestleMania 34 this weekend, and there has been speculation that he is planning to venture back into the world of mixed martial arts. That has now been confirmed.

In an appearance on FOX Sports 1 on Wednesday night, UFC president Dana White confirmed that Lesnar will fight in the octagon again.

“Yeah, Brock Lesnar is coming back,” White said. “I don’t know when, but yes he is.”

White is a genius promoter who has been known to keep hype alive even when things aren’t official, but longtime MMA reporter Ariel Helwani was told a deal betweenLesnar and the UFC is in place and simply needs to be finalized.

We got the impression based on some remarks his promoter recently made that Lesnar, 40, feels he has unfinished business in the UFC. In his last fight back in July 2016, Lesnar dominated Mark Hunt but had the win vacated over multiple failed drug tests. He was suspended for a year but then retired in February 2017, so Lesnar would have to serve however much time is remaining on his suspension before he could fight in the UFC again.

Ronda Rousey won’t rule out MMA return in awkward interview with Mike Golic

Rowdy Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey has been fully focused on her professional wrestling career as she gets set for her big match at WrestleMania 34 next month, but she apparently has not completely closed the book on mixed martial arts. At least, that’s what we gathered from an incredibly awkward interview on Tuesday morning.

While appearing as a guest on “Golic and Wingo,” Rousey was asked about the moment when she finally decided she was finished with her MMA career. She sternly replied that she never said anything of the sort, and things got tense in a hurry. Here’s the exchange:

Golic may have worded his question poorly, but Rousey knew exactly what he was asking. She obviously took advantage of the poor phrasing by acting like she thought Golic was talking about time travel, when it was clear he was asking if she would ever fight in the UFC again.

Rousey is trying to carve out an identity for herself as a no-nonsense enforcer in the WWE, so it’s possible she was also just staying in character during her interview with Golic. Whatever the case, she’s clearly not yet ready to call herself retired from the octagon.

Daniel Bryan medically cleared to return to WWE

Daniel Bryan

Daniel Bryan has not wrestled in the WWE in nearly three years, and it seemed all but certain that his career inside the ring was over when he retired due to concussions in February 2016. But now, the door is officially open for the fan favorite to return.

WWE officials confirmed to Brian Campbell of CBS Sports on Tuesday that Bryan has been medically cleared to wrestle. The 36-year-old has been cleared by three outside neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts in addition to WWE medical director Dr. Joseph Maroon.

Bryan has hinted at a return on numerous occasions, even saying that he would look to wrestle elsewhere when his WWE contract expires in September if the organization still would not clear him after outside doctors did. He has been serving as the on-screen general manager for SmackDown Live, and there are already rumblings that his first match back could be at WrestleMania 34 on April 8.

Bryan fought back tears during an emotional speech when he retired three years ago. He spoke about the toll concussions have taken on his body and said he planned to start a family with his wife, WWE superstar Brie Bella. In a recent interview with The National, Bryan expressed frustration with the WWE for not clearing him.

“I have done everything in my power. Everything they have asked me to and I have gone above and beyond as far as ‘Okay, what doctors do you need me to see. Send me to any doctor you want, any doctor that you want and lets get their feedback on what is going on with me,'” he said. “So far every doctor has cleared me that they have sent me too and so there is a chance. I used to think that the percentage of the WWE ever clearing me was low. I think with the stuff that I have done it has gone a little higher but I don’t know how much higher.”

You could tell how much of a beloved WWE icon Bryan was with the way fans reacted during his retirement speech, so talk of his return should be overwhelmingly positive.

Jeff Hardy’s BAC reportedly three times legal limit at time of arrest

WWE superstar Jeff Hardy was arrested for driving while impaired after he crashed his car in North Carolina on Saturday, and police say he was heavily intoxicated at the time of the accident.

According to a police report obtained by TMZ Sports, Hardy was involved a single-car crash just after 8 p.m. on Saturday while driving his 2016 Cadillac CTS-V sedan. He took a breathalyzer test and blew a .25, which is more than three times the legal limit of .08. He was immediately arrested and taken into custody.

Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com provided some more details surrounding the incident:

The police report notes that Hardy totaled his 2016 Cadillac with an estimated $8,000 in damages. The VIN listed on the police report is registered to a 2016 Cadillac CTS-V. Hardy was not traveling over the speed limit but was going an estimated 50 mph at the time of impact. The area of the accident is about 2 hours from Hardy’s home in Cameron, NC. The report also indicates Hardy underwent some sort of test for alcohol but that the results were pending at the time of the arrest.

Officer Kelemecz wrote the following on the accident:

“Driver of Vehicle #1 ran off the roadway to the right, in turn striking about 105 feet of guardrail before the back end of the car spun out 90 degrees to the left, coming to rest in the middle of the right N bound lane of travel. The driver was arrested and charged with DWI.”

The police report lists an estimated $5,000 in damages to the 105 foot of guardrail, owned by the NC Department of Transportation. This could be a factor in any restitution that the court orders Hardy to pay.

Hardy has had his driver’s license suspended for 30 days, which is standard in North Carolina following a DWI arrest. Hardy’s first court date is scheduled for Monday, April 16th in Cabarrus County.

The WWE has since issued a statement regarding the arrest.

“Jeff Hardy is responsible for his own personal actions,” the statement read. “We are investigating the matter and awaiting information from local law enforcement officials.”

Ric Flair signs on to act in wrestling movie

Ric Flair

Ric Flair has signed on to have a large acting role in a wrestling movie.

The Wrap reported on Wednesday that Flair has agreed to join an R-rated wrestling movie called “Uncle Steamroller & Champion Rabbit.”

Flair is set to play the role of the president of a wrestling tour where the Uncle Steamroller character tries to make a comeback.

“I’m expecting the inspirational story line will appeal to fans that extend beyond my loyal core wrestling base, and I am seriously looking forward to getting this film in front of worldwide audiences. Wooooooooooooooooo!” Flair told The Wrap.

Flair is also set to be an executive producer on the film. The 69-year-old also made an appearance in “Magic Mike XXL.”

Ronda Rousey to face Triple H, Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania

Ronda Rousey Triple H

WWE made it clear during Elimination Chamber 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday night that Ronda Rousey will be facing Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a tag team match at WrestleMania 34.

Rousey appeared in the ring at Elimination Chamber to sign her contract with WWE. Before doing so, she slammed Triple H through a table and got slapped in the face by McMahon.

Rousey is expected to team up with Kurt Angle in the WrestleMania match, but The Rock was previously reported as a potential partner for her.

Oh, and to all those saying wrestling is fake? That slap Rousey received was legit.

Another interesting note is that the site of Elimination Chamber — T-Mobile Arena — is where Rousey lost at UFC 207. She has not fought in the UFC since then.

Paul Heyman says Brock Lesnar could still return to UFC

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar is now 40 and has not fought in the UFC in nearly two years, but the WWE superstar’s promoter says Lesnar has not yet closed the book on his mixed martial arts career.

In a brief chat with TMZ this week, Paul Heyman was asked if there is any truth to the rumors that Lesnar could soon make a UFC return.

“If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in UFC, Brock Lesnar will fight in UFC,” Heyman said. “If Brock Lesnar wants to fight in WWE, he will fight in WWE. … Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants to do.”

When asked if fighting again after two years off (or possibly more) would be a problem, Heyman said he actually feels it would be an advantage for Lesnar.

“The time away actually makes him better because his body gets a chance to heal,” he said. “The problem with these UFC fighters, and they’re all fantastic athletes, is that they wear their bodies down in these training camps. All of these guys that are cutting weight are just destroying their own bodies. Brock Lesnar is probably the healthiest fighter to enter UFC if he decides to do that.”

If you remember, Heyman said last year that Lesnar has never had a UFC fight when he was at his peak physical condition because of his battles with diverticulitis.

Lesnar dominated Mark Hunt at UFC 200 in July 2016, but the win was later vacated because he failed multiple drug tests. It’s unclear if he has even re-entered the USADA testing pool, which is something he would have to do before his suspension could be lifted.