With UFC 200 fast approaching, the talk in the MMA world surrounds the return of Brock Lesnar. Often cited as the main contributor to the company’s best selling pay-per-view card–UFC 100–Lesnar’s return to mixed martial arts seems a surefire method to boost sales and generate interest. To some, the necessity for this maneuver by the promotion is more than a bit baffling. Lesnar hasn’t competed in well over four years, and is currently contracted to WWE. But Lesnar has always understood the importance of a fighter’s brand and the power it gives him. In the case of MMA, the ability to create and market a brand is an essential skill that can make or break a fighter’s career.
Lesnar’s presence as a major draw cannot be denied. Of the top ten best selling pay-per-view events held by the UFC, Lesnar appears four times as a headliner. Only Conor McGregor appears multiple times in the top ten (twice in the top five, with Ronda Rousey rounding out the fifth spot). Each of these fighters can be described as having major flaws or holes in their game, yet they remain the biggest entities (and earners, for that matter) in the sport.