Lesnar’s Non-Suspension Speaks Volumes on WWE “Wellness Policy”


The United States Anti-Doping Agency announced yesterday that former UFC Heavyweight Champion, and current WWE part-timer, Brock Lesnar, was banned from competition for one year. Lesnar failed two drug tests ahead of UFC 200.

According to the USADA, Lesnar “tested positive for clomiphene and 4-hydroxyxlomiphine in an out-of-competition urine test on June 28, 2016 as well as an in-ring urine test on the night of the fight on July 9, 2016, in Las Vegas.”

When Lesnar’s failed tests were first revealed last summer, his current employer WWE announced that the former world champion would face no suspensions or repercussions. Their explanation was simple.

“WWE’s talent wellness program does not apply to part-time performers such as Brock Lesnar,” the spokesperson said.

In February 2006, the WWE launched their wellness initiative in the wake of the sudden death of Eddie Guerrero at the age of 38 to heart failure brought on by years of alcohol and prescription drug use. Since its launch, numerous WWE superstars have been suspended and even fired for testing positive for banned substances or any wellness policy violation. This policy extends to most employees of the WWE.

In November 2016, the WWE parted ways with NXT trainer and former in-ring performer Billy Gunn. Gunn tested positive for performance enhancing drugs back at a powerlifting competition.

"WWE was not aware at the time that Gunn had failed a drug test, or was even competing in the powerlifting competitions, and just recently was made aware of his PED use.According to F4WOnline.com, the reason why Billy Gunn had not previously failed a drug test in WWE is because according to the company Wellness Policy, WWE only drug tests talent, and not coaches or trainers at the Performance Center."

The WWE will suspend or terminate a contract if a wrestler is guilty of breaking the wellness policy. They’ll do the same if any employee, in-ring competitor or staff tests positive for a substance and failing a test not administered. The only WWE staff immune to losing a job or paycheck for breaking company policy are part-time people.

So… just Brock Lesnar.

Brock Lesnar and the temps in accounting.

If an NFL player or any athlete in any major sport were to test positive for drugs in the offseason, they would face the wraith of the league office and receive the suspensions deemed appropriate by the league officers. In other words, if Dez Bryant tests positive for cocaine in July before an MTV Rock N’ Jock Celebrity Softball event, he’d face some type of suspension from the league or the Cowboys. (Writer’s Note — that’s just an example. Dez Bryant is not a known drug user and unfortunately MTV Rock N’ Jock no longer exists)

The idea that Lesner is immune to punishment because he’s just a clock puncher with the WWE is laughable. It sets a bad example for the stars and talent in full-time employment. Can The Miz leave to make The Marine 17: The Few, The Proud, The Body Count and bulk up without having to worry about random pee testing? Can John Cena go off of TV for half a year to do movies and TV and do lines in his trailer because (hand wave in face) U CAN’T C HIM? (Writer’s Note 2 — again, JUST examples.) 

A suspended Lesnar, a part-time player, would be in the WWE’s best interest. It would have no teeth since the Beast Incarnate comes and goes as he pleases, but just the announcement of a Lesnar suspension sets the tone that the WWE takes its wellness policy seriously, and the health of their talent, seriously. No matter how often they show up to work.

Chris Illuminati covers wrestling and random topics for The Outside Game. He’s written five books. Follow him on Twitter.