The UFC managed to add additional hype to the upcoming UFC 200 by getting the WWE’s Brock Lesnar for a one-night event. He’ll likely be headed back to wrestling regardless of the outcome of his July 9 bout. I really wish he could take CM Punk with him. Of course, that would be the most optimistic outcome.
Personally, I think CM Punk may be best served by retiring altogether.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 24, 2016
How things have changed since December 2014, back when TMZ Sports first hinted at CM Punk’s move. It was confirmed by ESPN a short while later. At the time, there was so much excitement — mixed with a bit of resentment that just another “fake wrestler” was making the leap.
The plan was to have CM Punk formally debut in 2015. Great! But then it didn’t happen. Heck, it still hasn’t happened. It took about a year and a half for fight fans to have any idea what a CM Punk debut would look like. The former wrestler, whose real name is Phil Brooks, is supposed to meet 2-0 fighter Mickey Gall at UFC 203. It sounds good on paper, but real world events are not making me confident Punk will debut at that time.
— SEScoops (@sescoops) June 22, 2016
CM Punk has no fight experience, and word has leaked via WrestleZone that he’s struggling with training. Punk’s also coping with injury concerns and an aging body. No, that’s not me being ageist; that’s me being a realist. Sure, there are fighters older than Punk currently fighting under contract with the UFC… but these fighters have years, even decades of fight experience to fall back on.
We’re not exactly talking about an aging gladiator going out to take on a younger warrior. No, we’re talking about someone with a broken body and no experience about to be thrown to the lions. The first scenario at least seems almost romantic in a way. The second? Utter cruelty.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) June 26, 2016
CM Punk would certainly not back down from this event. He seems like someone who’s genuinely a fan of MMA, even though he waited a very long time before trying to make this dream happen. It’s something he wants, even if it could really see him hurt.
As Inquisitr writer Aric Mitchell observed, “The problem there is that a 10-second takeout of Brooks by Gall would effectively devalue the CM Punk brand.” While Mitchell believes that Punk might pull out before the event and leave the UFC if he truly wants to avoid being humiliated, I’m worried that’s not the case. What if CM Punk feels that walking away from the UFC before fighting once in the two years he signed is the bigger risk?
We’re all counting on CM Punk to recognize his debut is a lost cause and to have the good sense to walk away. His body has repeatedly told him what it can’t do, both in the form of difficulty training and the required back surgery. These are signs — massive signs — that Punk’s elected to ignore.
Mickey Gall opens as considerable favorite against CM Punk at UFC 203 https://t.co/RpCq8ux5Wz
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) June 26, 2016
But then, this was never really about CM Punk and his imagined last hurrah — this was about the UFC attempting to siphon off a valuable resource from rival WWE to add a bit of hype to the MMA company at a time where it was perceived useful. Yet the landscape has changed since Christmas 2014. As we look ahead to UFC 200, CM Punk isn’t a factor. The only WWE star with the potential to make a dent in the UFC at the moment is Brock Lesnar, and this would be his second.
As for CM Punk, most expect him to lose and lose badly. My concerns go beyond victory or defeat. I don’t see this fight aiding either the UFC brand or CM Punk’s personal brand. It’s a failed experiment that has shed its relevancy in the grand scheme of things. Even worse, I’m not sure Punk’s body could take the battering he’d likely receive.
For all parties concerned, I think it would be best to scrap the entire thing.
But what do you think? Should CM Punk debut or should the UFC 203 match be canceled? Share your thoughts below!
[AP Photo/Evan Agostini]