UFC: CM Punk Experiment An Important Lesson

CM Punk
CM Punk Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

After losses to Mickey Gall and Mike Jackson, the CM Punk experiment is over. But it did highlight an important lesson.

When CM Punk was signed to the UFC in December of 2014, the move was met with tons of backlash. Everyone from fighters to fans bashed the signing; thought being that it was horrible that an amateur with no real martial arts experience besides a minuscule amount of jiu-jitsu training would fight in the UFC. People who defended the move cited the business side of the UFC —  Punk would bring lots of PPV buys when he fought.

After a year and a half of training, Punk’s first fight was finally announced at UFC 203. There, he was going to fight young prospect Mickey Gall. Most figured that Punk would probably be fed someone “easy” in his debut but that was not the case; instead he faced a young jiu-jitsu ace, and Punk was a giant underdog.

As the fight showed, odds exist for a reason. CM Punk was taken down and smashed inside of three minutes. After the loss it seemed that Punk would not likely get another shot in the promotion, but after much talk and training Punk was given a shot at UFC 225 in Chicago, Punk’s hometown.

His opponent was little known Mike Jackson. In fact, Jackson was mostly known for also losing to Mickey Gall, however Jackson sported legitimate boxing credentials and was seen as someone who should beat Punk handily. That said, some ultimately were picking Punk to win leading into the fight, or at the very least giving him a chance.

At UFC 225 Punk lost again, this time by decision to Mike Jackson, after a competitive first round. Though not reflected on the judges’ scorecards, the first round was one that you could argue Punk won. Past that, however, he gassed and got beat up badly for the next two rounds. When all was said and done, the man born Phil Brooks ended up losing 30-26 on all judges scorecards. So, after seeing two fights and having the CM Punk experiment be over, it feels like we all learned an important lesson.

That lesson is simple: Just because you can make money from it, doesn’t mean you should do it. CM Punk should’ve never been offered a UFC contract, at the very least he should had to go the route Greg Hardy did. Go fight on the amateur scene. Prove yourself.

The UFC can do freakshow fights occasionally. They can do things like having Brock Lesnar fight, since he had a legitimate background in amateur wrestling. But don’t portray it as something it is not. Trying to convince people that fights like CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson are legitimate and belong on the main card of one of the biggest events of the year is just bizarre.

The UFC completely botched the CM Punk situation and the way it was handled. There’s no doubt Eminem would earn tons of money for the UFC if he fought. Doesn’t mean we want to see Slim Shady in the octagon.