“This thing isn’t a joke. You don’t just decide “I’m a professional wrestler I think I’m going to fight.” It takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work — just like wrestling does. I’m sure these guys have to train hard and have to get in great shape to professional wrestle. You can’t just jump up one day and say, “I’m going to be a pro fighter and I think I’ll fight next month.” It doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t even come close to working that way.” – Dana White 2007
CM Punk will be returning to action…but not in a WWE ring. The former WWE world champ is stepping into the UFC octagon in a move that has a lot of WWE fans excited and a lot of MMA fans asking questions.
“It (fighting MMA) was always in the back of my mind since then. There was a fork in the road, I chose one direction. I’m fortunate to be able to revfisit things and take another fork in the road.”
[adinserter block=”1″]Punk has signed a multi-fight deal to join the UFC. The announcement comes less than two weeks after Punk returned to the spotlight after a series of podcast interviews in which he blasted the WWE and gave his side of the story on his exit. Ironically the things said in those interviews make very little sense in light of his latest announcement.
Punk talked extensively about the injuries he has suffered over the last several years in the WWE. He talked about concussions, bad knees, and MRSA infection, and broken ribs to name a few. Punk talked about burnout and went on a lengthy rant about Ryback in particular injuring Punk during their program. For a guy who has been so badly beaten up in a pro wrestling ring the last several years, the move to an actual combat sport doesn’t seem very logical does it?
My first reaction to hearing the news is that this may be the height of hypocrisy for CM Punk. Especially when you look back on all of the harsh statements Punk made against The Rock coming back to the WWE.
“I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.”
Let’s fast-forward to 2014 and compare the situations. You now have a guy (Punk) who is getting a UFC fight without any professional or amateur athletic background simply due to his star-power. This is a guy who is taking a spot away from an MMA fighter who has made the sacrifices and trained hard to get a coveted UFC spot. It would be one thing if Punk had to earn it on The Ultimate Fighter but he has never even had an MMA fight. His spot on the UFC card is undeserving no matter how you look at it and he is now that guy walking into the UFC locker room, without even an amateur fight or background, and taking someone’s spot. It doesn’t get any more hypocritical than that.
And then there is Dana White. The same Dana White who blasted competitors in the past for signing fighters with no MMA experience for their celebrity.
“Which athletic commission is going to let this guy fight?” White asked. “Who the f**k are they going to find to fight Herschel Walker? A guy in a wheelchair?”
Great question! Which athletic commission is going to let CM Punk? At least Herschel Walker had a professional sports background and the same can be said for James Toney who got a fight in the UFC. They also did not have a history of concussions. Keep in mind that a couple of years ago when Kurt Angle expressed interest in joining the UFC that Dana White was going to make Angle go through TUF to get a UFC spot and Angle is an Olympic gold medalist in wrestling! CM Punk is getting a contract and a fight simply for being a professional wrestling superstar.
[adinserter block=”2″]I don’t have any doubt in my mind that Bellator was the key factor in getting this deal done. There was no Bellator aggressively signing fighters back when Angle wanted in. Bellator is aggressively going after the UFC and there is no doubt that they would have given Punk a fight on network TV if the UFC didn’t jump first. I also don’t care what anyone from the UFC says, this move is about a company that is struggling mightily on pay-per-view and looking for a Hail Mary. Even with Anderson Silva coming back, the UFC will be lucky if they get two fights out of him in 2015. The UFC has been unable to create new stars and the numbers don’t lie. They need something and signing a popular WWE star is about as good as it is going to get.
Signing with the UFC is one thing. Getting into a UFC fight is another. Punk had a problem staying healthy in a worked pro wrestling sport for the last several years. Granted he wrestles a more physical style than most but it is pro wrestling. Will his body hold up through a full training camp? Has he even put in a full training camp to see if it would? That is a big question.
Regardless, it will be a must-see event the day Punk steps foot inside of the octagon. My suspicion is that a guy without one MMA fight, one camp, and no amateur wrestling or boxing background is not going to fare well.
But we’ll all be watching and as far as Dana is concerned, that’s more important that credibility in 2014/15.