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Death Clutch or ... Last Gasp???
on June 15, 2011
Brock Lesnar tends to be a polarizing figure in MMA. Some people love him; others hate him. Very few are neutral. Some think he is a superb MMA practitioner. Haters dismiss him as a gorilla who simply takes people down, lacks submission skills and who tries to "lay and pray" his way to a win. (His arm triangle submission of Shane Carwin undermines that argument.) Some could care less that his earlier career was in pro rasslin'; others think it cheapens and demeans the sport of MMA.
Like him or hate him, it is indisputable that he is the UFC's cash cow. Nobody packs the gate or gooses up PPV buys like a fight featuring Brock. For all of his publicity, though, it has not been easy getting behind the façade of Brock Lesnar the Fighter. He shuns the limelight and seems content in the sticks of Alexandria, MN. You will not find him soaking up the nightlife in Las Vegas or dancing at the after-party. It was considered a coup for Dana White and Zuffa when they recently succeeded in getting Lesnar to agree to appear as one of the coaches on the latest season of the Spike TV reality show, "The Ultimate Fighter." If the show's producers thought there might be fireworks between Lesnar and Dos Santos, what they got instead was "the bland leading the bland."
Joining the growing shelves of first-person MMA memoirs is the putative autobiography of Brock Lesnar, DEATH CLUTCH.
What does DEATH CLUTCH tell us about Brock that we didn't already know?
He is a simple farm boy, raised on a farm with solid Midwest values of hard work. His parents made great sacrifices to allow him to participate and excel in wrestling. He wasn't coddled when he lost, but was urged to work harder and to "get back on the horse."
Lesnar is not enamored with glitz and glitter. He shuns the limelight in some ways, resenting the intrusion of the media into what he considers to be his private life. He is dedicated to his wife and kids, though he tells us little about them. He mentions his wife Rena, never using her persona name "Sable," but offers no back-story on how they originally met.
Impulsiveness has at times plagued Lesnar. When exiting the WWE, he was so eager to leave pro wrestling that he signed an agreement before his lawyers could review and revise it. In signing, he agreed to a non-compete clause that constrained him from earning a living. After defeating Frank Mir at UFC 100, he was so amped by his victory, he flipped off booing fans, taunted Mir to his pulverized/hamburger-ized face and dissed the corporate beer sponsors who helped make Lesnar's financial winnings possible.
One irony is that, on the Amazon site to this book, Lesnar has a two-minute video portraying this book as a "tell all." Let me tell you, it does NOT "tell all." For example, one rumor that has followed Lesnar for years has been the suspicion of PED's or "juice."
This book would have been the perfect forum for dispelling with or addressing such rumors. He ignores it.
Lesnar comes across as headstrong and, if you don't like him, he could really give a #$%$. Otherwise, Lesnar here plays things very close to the vest and does NOT "tell all." Which is perfectly fine, EXCEPT when you start to shill the book as a "tell all."
No one will mistake Brock Lesnar for William Shakespeare. He joins the ranks of such literary luminaries as Matt Hughes, Randy Couture, BJ Penn, Jens Pulver and Brian Stann. In surveying the books by MMA fighters, we need not set the literary bar too high.
Whether you like or loath Brock Lesnar, if you are an MMA fan, you will likely find this book interesting. One plus: it is a quick read.
Another contradiction is this. On the book cover, Lesnar says "This one time ... you are invited to join me in my private world for a few hours. Just don't expect another invitation." Yet, on his Amazon.com promo video, he hints at a sequel.
As DEATH CLUTCH comes to print, the Brock Lesnar story is clouded. His planned UFC 131 fight against Junior Dos Santos was off due to a recurrence of diverticulitis. Another round of colon surgery followed. Will Lesnar fight again? If so, can he regain his old form? Can he recover to challenge Dos Santos? Can he ever win his heavyweight belt back from Cain Velasquez? Certainly Dana White and the UFC prays he will return. He is their cash cow. No one fills seats or pulls in PPV buys like Lesnar.
Popeye was famous for saying, I am what I am."
That's a good way to describe Brock Lesnar too.