—I hope everybody enjoyed their Fourth of July. Apologies for no content last week, but wow, what a week it was.
The biggest story was obviously LeBron James signing a multi-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s not the biggest story because it’s a surprise. It’s the biggest story because it’s the best player in the NBA leaving Cleveland for the second time and heading to the already-stacked Western Conference to join one of the most prestigious organizations in the league.
It was no secret that James was likely to land in LA because he has a home 30 minutes from the Staples Center. We’ve been talking about that for nearly two years. But I always told you that the Lakers would be a much bigger risk than the Clippers, because if James cares so much about his legacy — and he does — then what will it say about his legacy if he can’t win a championship with the championship-or-bust Lakers? You almost have to win at least one in that organization if you’re James. But it obviously won’t be easy. Between Golden State, Houston, and Oklahoma City, the West is a dogfight.
The only thing I can say is, James and the Lakers must have a plan for next offseason. Maybe it’s a free agent like Karl-Anthony Towns or Klay Thompson. Maybe it’s a trade for someone like Anthony Davis. Who knows. But it has to be something. Because James needs to win a championship with the Lakers.
—One of the other big stories was Brock Lesnar returning to the UFC after Daniel Cormier knocked out Stipe Miocic to win the heavyweight championship. Lesnar didn’t fight anyone. But he did enter the octagon during the post-fight, after Cormier called out Lesnar, who was in the stands watching.
Lesnar answered the call and got in Cormier’s face, pushing Cormier in what felt like a very scripted moment for everybody involved. Then, Lesnar got on the mic and ripped into Cormier and the entire UFC heavyweight division. Needless to say, it feels like Lesnar and Cormier will be fighting at some point in the near future, which is somewhat strange because Lesnar is currently the WWE Universal Champion, aka, the top dog in the WWE.
There’s a WWE pay-per-view this Sunday. Lesnar, as the company’s top dog, is not on the card. The next major event — and one of WWE’s biggest — is SummerSlam on Aug. 19. It’s rumored that Lesnar will defend his Universal championship then, but it’s not known as to whether or not he’ll lose the title and then leave professional wrestling for good in order to focus on a UFC fight with Cormier.
Another note related to the potential timing of a Lesnar vs Cormier fight is that Cormier has revealed he’s dealing with a broken finger, which might take a few months to heal. So there’s a lot going on here. But what’s clear — to me, at least — is that Dana White and Vince McMahon are once again in cahoots. How many times have I tried to tell you all that?
It’s called cross-promotion. It’s also called smart business, for both sides. I don’t know how many WWE fans who hate the idea of Lesnar showing up in an octagon as a WWE Universal champion, but there’s no doubt that there are plenty of UFC fans who despise the thought of professional wrestling creeping into their “real” product.
At the end of the day, White is trying to make more money today than he did yesterday, and if it means attracting the WWE audience to make that happen, then I don’t have any problem with it at ll, and neither should you. All you need to know is that Lesnar and Cormier will one day step in to the octagon either later this year or at some point in 2019, and they will have a fight that won’t be predetermined.
So let them cross-promote. Let them stage more face-to-face confrontations. They should even have Cormier show up on Monday Night Raw. Heck, why not have Cormier show up at SummerSlam and cost Lesnar the Universal championship, leading to a UFC fight. That’s right, I want Paul Heyman introducing Lesnar in the Octagon afterwards in Las Vegas.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MY NAME IS PAUL HEYMAN…”
Then have the rematch at WrestleMania in a steel cage. White and McMahon should continue to cross-promote the hell out of this thing. because if they do, it will be the biggest storyline in sports and entertainment for a long time.