Fight clubbed: How UFC was duped by the CM Punk star power angle

12/12/14 by Rennie Detore



CM Punk, the former heavyweight champion and superstar with World Wrestling Entertainment, signed this past week with the UFC and is about to embark on transitioning from the world of sports entertainment to just plain sport in the form of mixed martial arts, wrestling, striking and every other element within the confines of the octagon.
The move was preceded by Punk taking to the internet and bashing his former employee, WWE, for everything from unsafe working conditions to wrestling and performing injured despite desperate pleas from him to take time off from his job.
The signing of Punk with UFC put an exclamation point on his wrestling career and garnered plenty of mainstream publicity for both Punk and UFC. Punk is making the rounds both within the mixed martial arts media world but also has found his way into national fame, which is essentially, if you pay attention to his podcast about his WWE tenure, exactly what he wanted from his former company: a chance to shine on a larger stage beyond the squared circle wrestling ring.

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Punk popping over to the UFC undoubtedly will accomplish what UFC President Dana White hopes from the signing: more eyes on his product. Wrestling fans and longtime Punk supporters will waste little time ordering the first pay per view that Punk will fight on, even if it is, as White said, an entry level bout.
Punk has star power. He was given a platform to succeed on a national level with WWE, whose weekly "Monday Night Raw" program is seen by nearly four million viewers weekly. Punk was one of WWE's top stars and he left the company so abruptly that fans have been clamoring and begging for him to return to wrestling.
They got their wish. Sort of.
UFC certainly was wise to capitalize on Punk's wildly popular podcast on Thanksgiving Day and the buzz that it created. He value couldn't be higher, and UFC bought into the hype of inking Punk to a deal, even though his forage into fighting is more media stunt than the legitimate arrival of a UFC superstar and champion.
Some will argue that Punk can overcome being 36 years old and starting from scratch, even if he has somewhat of a background in martial arts and wrestling. Punk, from his WWE days and work as a wrestler on the independent wrestling scene, has the look and feel of a guy who works diligently to succeed. He was one of the few WWE wrestlers that didn't fit the muscular, Hulk Hogan like build of the majority of stars that the company churns out year after year.
He was different. He wasn't handed opportunity in WWE. He earned it and carved out a superb career. The difference, however, is that was Punk's chosen profession. UFC and fighting isn't.
Punk himself has openly admitted he might get a wake up call and knocked out. Chances are, White and UFC isn't going to let that happen. They'll feed Punk a few fighters with a zero and zero record or something below .500 as far as wins and losses.
They'll have to do just that to protect their investment, one that arguably was bought into out of haste and a willingness to want to make a public relations splash even though it eventually will turn into barely harmless ripple.

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