Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) wrestler Phillip Jack “CM Punk” Brooks made his long-awaited professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) debut against Mickey Gall at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 203 Saturday evening.
The bout, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, proved anticlimactic as Gall took an easy victory over Punk, winning by a submission in just over two minutes into the first round.
Punk, 37, entered the Octagon to his signature WWE “Cult of Personality” tune. After Bruce Buffer had made the introductions, the two touched gloves and the debut everyone had been awaiting was underway.
But Punk, who came into the fight as the underdog, was overwhelmed quickly by the more experienced fighter.
With no previous MMA experience, no one had expected Punk to give Gall a worthy fight. Fans on social media had severely criticized his decision to swap WWE for MMA, but Punk had defended himself and expressed confidence he could win the fight.
Although he came out swinging, it was clear within seconds which way the match was going. Punk took a flurry of shots from Gall after missing a right.
— Cageside Seats (@cagesideseats) September 11, 2016
No matter what anyone says @CMPunk got in there and went for it. He took some shots and fought a choke to the best of his ability. Respect.
— Andre Fili (@TouchyFili) September 11, 2016
Much respect to @CMPunk. Much respect. Has been a total pro since signing with us. Takes a lot of guts and mental strength to get in there.
— Dave Sholler (@Sholler_UFC) September 11, 2016
Gall was clearly determined to finish off his opponent quickly. Looking for a rear-naked choke, he scored a takedown barely five seconds into the fight, subjecting his opponent to ground and pound. He took control of the fight, delivering kicks and punches and giving his opponent no respite.
Although Punk made a spirited effort at defending himself, he had no effective answers to Gall who got a choke and forced a submission after only two minutes and 14 seconds of the first round.
“It was a great opportunity,” Gall told Joe Rogan after his victory. “I see a lot of hate for this guy online. I think we all hate too much. F**k the hate. It was a great opportunity for me.”
“This might sound like a gimmicky fight, but I’m no gimmick,” he said. “I’m not going f****** anywhere. I want Super Sage Northcutt next! I think that guy’s corny.”
And CM Punk goes to sleep https://t.co/xFqCY7mFHb
— Nate (@BarstoolNate) September 11, 2016
Joe Rogan called CM Punk's attempt to fight in the UFC dillusional. Says he should get some amateur fights.
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) September 11, 2016
Inspiring words from CM Punk tonight. Always remember this. pic.twitter.com/af15oTQ8cb
— #BROKEN PWP Nation (@PWPNation) September 11, 2016
Punk took the defeat in good spirit. He had a long talk with the victor. He congratulated and praised his performance.
When Punk took the microphone, he told his critics that despite the defeat he wasn’t giving up on becoming an MMA fighter. He promised he would be back.
“In life, you go big or you go home,” he said. “I just love challenges. I will be back, believe it or not. I had a lot of fun tonight. It was the second best night of my life behind my wedding night.”
Many social media users poked fun at Punk over his loss and described his decision to leave WWE as a mistake.
“He leaves WWE where he was a point of Stone Cold status and went to UFC and got his **s kicked. What a big mistake,” a sports fan commented.
“Can you imagine how bad he would have done without training? He would have tapped out while the referee was asking if he was ready,” another sports fan commented.
“He was embarrassing to watch, his face and ears looked like he’d gone three rounds not two minutes.”
But others praised his courage.
“CMPunk had a dream. There are many that talk about doing it their entire lives and very few that actually do,” a fan commented. “He did, Kudos. Much respect.”
“It takes a long time to be great at anything,” another said, “yet people were b******* when is he finally going to fight, when in reality not even two years has passed since he got signed.”
Joe Rogan also praised Punk, describing him as a brave man.
Gall’s latest victory leaves him unbeaten. He had defeated Mick Jackson in a quick fight last February.
[Image via MMAFighting/Twitter]