Connect with us


Is CM Punk Ready For The UFC?



CM Punk walked out of the WWE the day after the Royal Rumble in 2014 and to say his exit from the promotion was rocky would be an understatement. Later that year, he appeared on Colt Cabana’s “Art of Wrestling” podcast to discuss his departure, which generated an amount of web traffic that actually crashed their website for a brief time. Punk detailed his grievances, some of them were understandable while others seemed questionable. One of the downsides of his choice to share his story on the show was obviously, Colt wasn’t going to ask challenging questions. Regardless, CM Punk had every right to leave the company if he was unhappy and if that decision is more beneficial for him then fans have no reason to criticize because they aren’t in his shoes.

One of the main points that Punk made was that it became clear to him that he wasn’t going to get the chance to main event Wrestlemania and it was one of the few remaining goals left for him. Another major point he made was that he thought he wasn’t given the proper medical treatment from the WWE doctor and had a staph infection that was treated after he quit the promotion. The doctor that Punk named, Chis Amann filed a lawsuit against him and Cabana for the comments made on the podcast, but it has yet to be resolved.

After getting through the legal red tape of his WWE contract, Punk made headlines again in November of 2014 when it was announced during a UFC pay-per-view broadcast that the former WWE champion had signed with the organization to fight in the octagon. The Chicago native had been known for his training in jiu jitsu, often sporting a Gracie hoodie during his entrance to the ring, but the news shocked many since he had no previous MMA experience. His debut in the sport was penciled in on a few different occasions, but injuries, including a minor knee injury and then most recently back surgery, delayed his start. However, CM Punk is finally cleared to compete and his fight with Mickey Gall is scheduled for September of this year.

So, with an official fight on the calendar, how will CM Punk transition to MMA?

At 37, Punk’s debut isn’t typical and there’s no doubt that he was signed because of his WWE fame, but you can’t blame the UFC because it’s an extremely smart business move. That being said, Punk has trained continuously in Milwaukee and even those that said he was difficult to work with during his WWE run will credit him for being motivated to succeed in any venture that he attempts to accomplish. The MMA purists might scoff at a former pro wrestler with no legitimate competitive background fighting in the cage, but there’s no doubt that CM Punk is dedicated to this new chapter of his career.

However, this is a risky career move for Punk, as mentioned he has no legitimate sports background and he will go into the fight at a disadvantage in almost every aspect. His age, inexperience, the injuries from pro wrestling, the injuries from MMA training, and the bright lights of the main stage without any amateur career will work against him. Mickey Gall, who is 2-0 (three amateur wins) in his professional career, will have the advantage on paper prior to the fight. Perhaps one of the few advantages that CM Punk has before UFC 203 is the unknown factor, which will make his opponent’s preparation more difficult. Is Punk a decent striker? Can he utilize a take down? Does he have sufficient submission skills?

The answers to these questions are a part of the draw for this event, will CM Punk be victorious in the octagon?

Speaking of the draw, the initial fight will be major money for everyone involved, including CM Punk, but if he has more than a one-off will depend on the results of the contest. There will undoubtedly be the draw from his WWE career, but make no mistake about it, this isn’t another Brock Lesnar type situation. Lesnar was a former NCAA champion and has a legitimate sports background so that alone doesn’t make a transition to mixed martial arts that much of a stretch. Obviously, his WWE fame made him one of the top draws in UFC history, but the point is, he’s a capable athlete outside of the sports entertainment genre. That’s not to take anything away from Punk, but he really is an amateur jumping into the pro ranks. If Punk gets stopped early in the first round, will there be a demand for a second fight?

Punk is known among his peers and fans as being difficult, and not exactly the most personable athlete in sports. Aside from the initial hype of how he translates to the cage, his fan base might not follow his additional ventures into MMA. Granted, pro wrestling fans are a very dedicated fan base, but since Punk’s exit from sports entertainment, he has downgraded the sports anytime he speaks on the subject, calling WWE talent “indentured servants” during a recent appearance on the Colin Cowherd show. As mentioned, if Punk was unhappy with his status in pro wrestling, he had every right to quit, but his insults toward the industry could sour many fans on him. At the same time, there are diehard MMA fans that consider a pro wrestler with no experience an insult to the sport so again, winning is the key if Punk wants to have more than a one-off MMA career. If he wins, people will want to see him fight again, but for now, the intrigue is based on how he does in the octagon, not his actual mixed martial arts ability.

Regardless of if you think Punk is a rude and bitter former WWE wrestler or if you admire him for standing up for himself, you must give him credit for the tenacity it takes to pursue this career path. MMA is a dangerous sport and again, regardless of your opinion of him, you have to give Punk credit for dedicating himself to this chapter of his career. If CM Punk is successful in the UFC remains to be seen, but from a business prospective it’s a win because for at least one event, the fans of different genres will tune in to watch CM Punk fight in the octagon.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.