When the shocking news of Brock Lesnar's return to the UFC broke this weekend, many fans of both MMA and wrestling wondered... what exactly is in this for the WWE?
After all, Brock Lesnar is signed to an exclusive contract with them, so he'd need the company's explicit permission to compete in a mixed martial arts fight. Additionally, he's already scheduled to appear at a huge WWE show, SummerSlam, just a few weeks later. If he's injured or visibly beaten up, that could significantly hinder his performance at that event.
On paper, it seems like a big win for the UFC, but a huge risk for the WWE. However, reports have emerged that the WWE is angling to get something big out of this new partnership.
According to Forbes, the WWE "loaned out" Lesnar in the hopes that this could open the door for more UFC athletes to appear at their own events. Specifically, they apparently want to have Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania 33 in April 2017.
Rousey was a huge hit when she appeared at WrestleMania 31 with The Rock, and she's arguably still the UFC's biggest pop culture crossover star. The WWE is hoping that this time they can actually get her into a match, and maybe even secure a bigger role for her somewhere down the line.
Either way, it sounds like big things are afoot now that the UFC and WWE have reached some sort of early partnership.