Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC
The MMA debut of professional wrestling megastar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks will last long in the memory, though not necessarily for the right reasons.
The 38-year-old succumbed to the rear-naked choke of Mickey Gall’s just two minutes into their bout at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. Gall walked out of the Octagon without a scratch on him, given how he took Punk down in an instant and proceeded to pound the former WWE champion before finishing the fight with ease.
Following Gall’s latest performance and resultant victory against Sage Northcutt, it is clear there was a gulf in martial arts experience between Punk and his debut opponent.
If the documentary profiling Chicago, Illinois, native Punk’s journey into fighting proved anything, it was his determination to give MMA a good ol’ go—so it safe to assume the embarrassing defeat would’ve smarted somewhat.
That looks to be the case as he told the LA Kings Fox affiliate he wants to get back in the UFC Octagon as soon as possible—and if UFC president Dana White isn’t interested, Punk will seek an alternative MMA promotion to host his sophomore MMA appearance.
“I am working on it feverishly,” Punk told Fox. “I’m throwing names at Dana [White], opponents, dates. I don’t know if he’s waiting for a Chicago show or what the deal is but if it doesn’t happen in the UFC, it will happen somewhere else. I’m dedicated to fighting and training. We’ll get there.”
A month earlier, White didn’t appear as enthusiastic when talking about Punk’s future in the UFC, telling TMZ Sports: “I’ve got to talk to him and see how this thing works out for him. UFC’s a dangerous place, man. It really is. It’s a tough place to come in for your first couple fights. I give him all the credit and respect in the world for coming in and giving it a shot. It’s a tough place to do it though. But we’ll see what happens. I love the guy.”
One opponent who might interest both Punk and White is Australian radio personality and former skateboarder Jason Ellis. Ellis is openly campaigning for this fight and brings an element of intrigue to the cage himself, given his existing fanbase and previous involvement in both MMA and boxing.
If the UFC want to go down the “freak fight” road again, this looks a viable option. But, one criticism of the Gall match-up was the disparity in experience between Punk and his first challenger—with five amateur wins (4-1) and a sole professional MMA victory (1-0) under his belt, Ellis actually has more in-cage experience than Gall did at the time of the Punk fight.
In addition to those fights on the amateur MMA circuit and his single professional bout—winning by guillotine choke against 2-9 Tony Gianopulos Jr.—Ellis has fought, and beat, infamous TUF character and UFC veteran Gabe Ruediger two times in non-professional boxing bouts, before being knocked out by former interim UFC heavyweight champion Shane Carwin in a bizarre boxing match which saw Carwin compete with one arm tied behind his back.
Despite the latter, the disparate nature of Punk’s experience to Ellis’ is nothing different to what we saw when Gall tore through the ex-pro wrestler—no matter how you dress it up.
You can see why the UFC opted to take him on in the first place, given his undoubted star power, but a second Punk fight will likely stink out the joint if he faces any opponent possessing a more extensive martial arts background than he has—and that’s assuming the UFC has any interest in showcasing a second Punk fight in the first place.
Check out these related stories:
Where Does CM Punk Go From Here?
CM Punk, Legitimate Tough Guys and Predatory Matchmaking
Why I’m Indifferent to CM Punk Versus Mickey Gall