|(Photo: Assiniboia Times/Dan Archer)|
Brock Lesnar - fresh off his appearance in Wrestlemania 35 last weekend - made the drive in from his home in Maryfield, SK to speak to a sold-out crowd of close to 1,000 patrons. Also on the docket was former NHL enforcer Marty McSorley. I was honoured to serve as the MC!
Here are some notes and quotes from the rare appearance by the UFC, WWE and NFL star:
- Saturday night's event was only the third such appearance Lesnar’s ever done. He said it's not that he's reluctant to do them, or do interviews, but he's been instructed by his lawyer to avoid them because he's too blunt and has a habit of saying things that get him into trouble!
- He grew up on a dairy farm as the youngest of three brothers in Webster, SD. That's where he learned to fight however his mother grew tired of bailing them out of jail on weekends. When she'd eventually had enough, she told them "If you guys don't learn how to make a living out of fighting, you need to stop it right now." That's where the idea of this career was first planted in his head.
- He starred in college wrestling at Bismarck State University and later the University of Minnesota where he won a national championship. It was very soon after that when he fielded a call from the WWE recruiter wondering if he'd try out for pro wrestling in Stamford, CT. Because of his size, athleticism, personality and ability to speak, he was a natural fit and he was signed to the richest rookie contract in WWE history.
- Before long he was doing 300 shows per year around the globe and while he was making millions, it became a real grind. However he was never afraid of hard work. Lesnar told the amusing/disgusting story of how, one night during a show in South Africa, The Big Show had food poisoning. Lesnar slammed him to the canvas and his opponent exploded with diarrhea all over him!
- In the mid 2000's Lesnar got a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings and spent part of the season on the practice roster as a defensive tackle. The Vikings wanted to allocate him to Europe but he'd already been there, made millions, and wasn't interested in going back for peanuts. That was the end of his football career, however he'd also played in high school.
- Around that time the UFC was getting popular and he incessantly called President Dana White about an opportunity however his calls were ignored. So Lesnar hopped on a plane to Las Vegas for a UFC show. He loved what he saw, realized he missed that type of fighting, and jumped into the cage in the middle of a fight. That caught Dana White's attention, and the rest is history.
- Lesnar said he intentionally keeps his contracts with Vince McMahon and Dana White short so that he can jump back and forth between the two leagues.
- It should be noted that Lesnar was humble, respectful, intelligent, well-spoken and warm. He showed all the hallmarks of being a small-town farm kid and that's why he fits in so well in Maryfield. More on that in a moment. He’s also incredibly vigilant of his brand and worth. He was also very interested in “giving back” and raising money to build a new arena. He realizes he’s been very lucky in life.
- Lesnar is 6'3" and currently 270 lbs.
- He has never been to a Saskatchewan Roughriders game.
- I asked him who'd win a street fight between he and Duane "The Rock" Johnson. Lesnar scoffed, and said the two are good friends. The Rock has asked Lesnar to appear in his movies but the deal is that The Rock always has to win their fights and for that reason, Lesnar's always said no. But the funniest quote was "The difference between us is that he gets pedicures and I don't."
- As far as living in Maryfield goes, Lesnar's brother lives up in the area and when Brock was looking for somewhere to put down roots, his brother suggested he look for available farmland in southeastern Saskatchewan. That led to him buying the spot where he's at, where he currently farms.
- His sons are immersed in Canadian culture and just last week they came home on the school bus saying, "Dad we need mini-sticks". Lesnar's response was, "What the f---k is a mini-stick?" But they loaded up the family and drove to Brandon, MB to get some.
- Why Maryfield, SK? It's because the demands on his time from the WWE and UFC are so astronomical that he likes to "hideout" in small-town Saskatchewan, which makes sense.
- What's next for Lesnar? He's been invited to fight Daniel Cormier in a UFC heavyweight bout this summer but he hasn't made his mind up. In any news stories I've seen on the match, Dana White has left it up to Lesnar whether or not he wants to fill the card.
*All in all it was a FANTASTIC evening and interviewing Brock Lesnar counts as the biggest interview I've ever done so I want to thank Curtis Nelson of Assiniboia for the opportunity!