Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011 | 2:05 a.m.
For Brock Lesnar, it’s not so much about what he can do for "The Ultimate Fighter.” It’s about what “The Ultimate Fighter” can do for him.
That’s why Lesnar, the former UFC heavyweight champion until losing last October to Cain Velasquez, ultimately agreed to coach on the 13th season of the show against top heavyweight contender Junior dos Santos.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get my title back sooner rather than later,” Lesnar said. “When I beat dos Santos, I get a rematch with Velasquez, and then I get my (expletive) belt back. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Lesnar turned down UFC President Dana White’s initial pleas to appear on the organization’s biannual reality show on Spike but eventually caved when he realized how much it could benefit him.
The move surprised many in the mixed martial arts community. After all, Lesnar has never been fond of media attention and usually retreats to his home in Alexandria, Minn., away from the spotlight in between fights.
Perhaps even more unexpected was Lesnar’s temperament on the set of “The Ultimate Fighter” Tuesday, the second day of filming in Las Vegas. Lesnar cracked a couple jokes, spent a half-hour speaking cordially with the media and even managed to sport a brief smile.
“He’s a little bit different than what is shown on TV,” dos Santos said. “He is a pretty nice guy.”
Lesnar said he had so far enjoyed his time working with the handful of hopefuls trying to score a six-figure UFC contract and wanted to help them not spend the rest of their lives fighting “in bingo halls and smoky bars.”
Most of the cast members, who will not be revealed until the show airs in March, had nothing but positive things to say about Lesnar — even those who came into the show hesitant.
“Honestly, at first when I heard Brock was coaching, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be on that guy’s team. Go back to the WWE,’” one contestant said. “No disrespect, but that’s what I first thought. But after meeting with him and his coaches, I’m real excited. I think he’s going to be a real good coach.”
Lesnar, however, admitted to not being too interested in some areas that come with coaching on the show. He said he didn’t care how the fighters on his team handled themselves outside of the gym.
“I’m not here to babysit,” Lesnar said. “They can do whatever the hell they want to do. I don’t really give a rat’s ass.”
What about engaging in some playful trash talk or competition with dos Santos to hype their fight that will come directly after the season finale? No thanks, Lesnar said.
“I don’t have to go around playing pranks and stirring up rivalries,” he said. “These other fighters have to do that stuff, because no one will watch it otherwise. I don’t need a storyline. I’m Brock Lesnar and people want to see me fight.”
Lesnar squashed Internet rumors that he was sick of MMA and emphasized that he wanted to fight, too. Specifically, he wants to compete to get the heavyweight championship back.
If coaching on “The Ultimate Fighter” is the fastest way to reach that goal, then so be it.
“Is Las Vegas a place I want to be? No,” Lesnar said. “There are other warm places I can think of. But it’s not painful. At least it hasn’t been yet. Talk to me in five weeks and we'll see.”