UFC 91: White says Lesnar's barrage on Couture 'crossed the line'
Issues raised at the post-fight news conference of UFC 91, where Brock Lesnar carried in his heavyweight championship belt four mixed martial arts fights removed from his stature as a World Wrestling Entertainment character and mused he’s still addressing inexperience issues:
“Inexperience has gotten me this far, though,” the 31-year-old former NCAA-champion wrestler said grinning.
Lesnar’s decisive right cross that landed behind the left ear of former champion Randy Couture, 45, sent the proud champion to the canvas, where Lesnar jumped on to deliver about 30 more blows.
Afterward, a German journalist asked the fighters how that scene qualified as sport, and Couture answered it was allowable under “rules of engagement” to be “eating leather,” as he put it. Lesnar dodged the issue.
Yet, earlier, UFC President Dana White said as he watched the barrage he thought, “The ref [Mario Yamasaki] was going, ‘Eh, is [Couture] OK?’ Mario was trying to give him time [to recover]. There’s a fine line between that and [allowing] too many punches. When I saw Randy go back down, I thought we had crossed that line.”
Keys to the outcome? Couture said it was Lesnar’s “go-go Gadget arms. It’s one thing to find guys who are big and heavy, another to find a guy with an 85-inch reach,” he said.
Lesnar suffered a cut over his right eyebrow seconds before scoring his winning TKO, and the blood was his own, not from a packet like those used in WWE.
“It made me a little nervous, but [upset him], I wanted first blood,” Lesnar said. “Something in my head went, ‘All right, we’ve got to pick this up,’ and we did.”
The victory was a redeeming moment for White, who took a chance with credibility by signing a WWE product but maintained Lesnar had potential beyond the failed MMA mission of YouTube-famous street-fighter Kimbo Slice with Elite XC.
“This guy’s far from Kimbo Slice,” White said.
“I don’t even know that guy [Slice],” Lesnar said.
Photo: Brock Lesnar delivers about 30 blows to Randy Couture. Credit: Eric Jamison / AP