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CM Punk: Running down a Dream…. for a price

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Listen, I’ve been a proponent of chasing your dreams, and surrounding yourself with “Why Not?” people. There’s too much no “Why?” out there. As movie director Kevin Smith stated once, “Throw a rock and you’ll hit somebody with “why?” … go out and find “why not?” and surround yourself with that. I agree with that notion, and supporting someone who is chasing their goals is a worthwhile endeavor. That said, CM Punk stepping onto the biggest stage in MMA, taking the spot of someone who has put in years of training on the main card, and performing well, he did his best, kind of smacks of what’s wrong with the UFC.

Dana White has long since told anyone who’d listen, that the UFC is the elite of MMA. It’s where the best of the best perform. Unless there’s money to be made. Then we can usher in CM Punk, who’d never even so much as had an amateur fight. Let’s bring in James Toney…I mean, he boxed once upon a time, he should be good to go. Sean Gannon? Didn’t he beat up Kimbo on the underground, signed, sealed and delivered. At some point, you have to either be elite, or just another promotion. The UFC is turning into just another promotion.

So, CM Punk had a dream? Ok…well, so did Martin Luther King Jr, and had his dream been to play second base for the Yankees, you think they would have rolled him out for a day/night doubleheader? Probably not. A dream is great, chase it, pursue it, but don’t use your celebrity to shortcut everyone else to achieve it.

Before CB Dollaway was TKO’d by an elevator in Cleveland, he was set to compete on the undercard of UFC 203. Now, he’s been in the UFC Octagon for 17 fights, and his spot on the main card was usurped by CM Punk, The Cult of Personality, making his first walk to the cage. His opponent, Mickey Gall, a brash youngster who had a total of 2 fights under his belt as a professional. Main card material, sure, why not. I mean, he was on Dana’s Youtube show.

Brad Tavares was making his 13th appearance in the cage, on the undercard so that the BIG MONEY fight between Gall and Punk could be featured. Dana White said after Punk’s fight, that if CM Punk wants to continue to fight, it should probably be outside of the UFC. What? You don’t think you can push that horse and pony show out in front of the audience again and milk another PPV bonanza? Certainly if you could, we’d be hearing about CM Punk vs. Phil Baroni at UFC 210. It’s pretty shameful of the UFC to use Punk to sell PPVs and then say, yeah, he doesn’t belong here.

Sadly though, he doesn’t, never did in fact. Do I blame CM Punk for pursuing a fight in MMA? Of course not…good on him, he put in the time to try to get ready, and learned he wasn’t. In this case I think you blame the pimp, not the whore, for she knows not what she’s doing. Dana and Company knew what they were doing when they signed him, put together the whole, Evolution of Punk series etc. They were sending a lamb to slaughter. All for the almighty dollar and the bottom line.

There’s a lot of people who want to point and laugh and Punk for his performance. And there are others who are singing his praises as being brave, honorable and steadfast in his courage to chase his dream. He’s just a man. A man who thought more of his skills than they are. He’s a man who trained for a profession that doesn’t usually welcome 37-year-old men sans experience with open arms and a warm embrace. He trained, he fought, he lost, he learned.

He also earned a lot of money. A lot of money. More than anyone else on the card, I’d imagine. It only stands to reason the man with no experience should pull down the biggest check, isn’t that how it works? Not good at your job? Brand new and shaky-legged as a newborn fawn? Here, take the big check and go crazy. You’re probably worth it.

CM Punk did what he wanted to do. In doing so, he also proved he is a long way from deserving another shot in the UFC. He’s proven that his skillset screams Legacy, but his celebrity screams UFC. If there’s a dollar and a cent to be made, he will be back in the UFC. If not, he’ll likely hang em up, and walk off into the sunset. I don’t see him working for 6K & 6K on AXS TV anytime soon.

Then again, I’m a cynical bastard. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, maybe he’ll prove all of us wrong. Maybe pigs will fly. Maybe I’ll play halfback for the 49ers. Maybe Evan Shoman will wake up one morning and NOTHING will bother him. Maybe Donald Trump will ‘Make America Great Again’….maybe …

Dan has been writing about the sport of MMA for the last 15+ years. During this time, he's met amazing fighters, and awesome friends sitting cage-side covering MMA. The memories and relationships are payment for his passion. Dan got his start as a featured writer for Sherdog.com and now serves as owner and co-host with Evan Shoman and Dion Harrison of The Crimson Canvas Podcast, on the Fight Booth Podcast network. Dan is also a part time contributor to FightBooth.com with pro wrestling, and MMA articles. He thanks Dave Reno for the opportunity and for years of friendship and support.

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