Fight schlub: Is CM Punk setting himself up for disaster?

04/07/15 by Rennie Detore



On the heels of WrestleMania, the talk for the past week has been about who was there. There was Triple H. There was The Undertaker. There was Brock Lesnar. There was Sting. There was even an NWO and Degeneration X reunion. But there was one guy who wasn't there. A guy who once said he lives and breathes for the business of professional wrestling. That guy, is CM Punk.
No, CM Punk wasn't at WrestleMania, because Phil Brooks doesn't work for the WWE anymore. He's now in the UFC, and getting ready for his first fight in the octagon. Which makes no sense on two ends. Why would CM Punk walk away from the business he supposedly loves to start an MMA career at age 36? And why would the UFC want a 36 year old former professional wrestler with zero MMA fight experience?
There have been some cross overs from pro wrestling to MMA that have had some success. Lesnar is one of them. Bobby Lashley is another. But both of those guys had extensive amateur wrestling backgrounds. So why would CM Punk, who does have some MMA and martial arts training, leave a ton of money on the table with WWE to start a career in the UFC at an age when most fighters are hanging it up? And why would Dana White and UFC want him? Well I can answer the second question...name recognition and promotion.

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CM Punk fighting in the UFC is a win for Dana White. Punk's first fight will be in 2015 against a younger fighter who's in the preliminary stages of his career with only one or two professional fights under his belt. Usually that would be the opening match on a PPV or even on the undercard. But since it's CM Punk, you can bet those PPV buy rates are going to sky rocket because of all of the pro wrestling fans who will be tuning in to see him fight. The curiousity of casual fight fans will probably be drawn in to that first fight as well. And the regular MMA fans will be tuning in with higher numbers because they want to see the "fake wrestling" fighter get whooped.
But doesn't this cheapen the UFC product? This is all promotion. It takes away from the work career MMA fighters have put in to make it to the UFC. There has been backlash from other UFC fighters who have said Phil Brooks has no idea what he's getting into who have offered to be his first fight because they'd like to embarrass him.
So who loses here? Well the WWE does to start. They've lost one of their top names and draws. They also lose if CM Punk gets knocked out or tapped out in the first minute of his first fight against some guy who's in his second fight in the UFC. It makes professional wrestlers look like phony's if a top guy gets destroyed by a bottom rung MMA fighter. Phil Brooks also loses here. Not only on the money and opportunity he left behind in WWE, but overall. Look, I hope he does well. I hope he finds some success. But if CM Punk gets embarrassed in his first fight, any legitimacy he had is gone. Which takes away from the CM Punk name should he ever return to professional wrestling.
CM Punk's first shirt with WWE said "My Life, My Rules". Phil Brooks is doing just that, but the results of his decision may not end up being the "best in the world".

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