CM Punk Talks WWE Before UFC 203 Debut: ‘The Locker Room Needs An Enforcer’

Former five-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion Phil ‘CM Punk’ Brooks is just three days away from his mixed martial arts debut, as he will fight Mickey Gall at UFC 203. Coincidentally, the fight will emanate from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, the same venue in which Punk had a falling out, that led to his WWE departure, with chairman Vince McMahon on January 27, 2014.

However, Punk’s professional wrestling career is still a frequent talking point in media sessions. Punk spoke to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting days before his fight and mentioned, just like he did in the fourth installment of The Evolution of Punk, that he’s “cursed in Cleveland.” A curious Helwani asked Punk to elaborate on where the curse that goes back to his pro wrestling days stems from.

Punk mentioned that he and Mickie James were both set to make their debut in Cleveland but were instead sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), the WWE’s developmental system at the time. He also mentioned former WWE superstar Bob ‘Hardcore’ Holly punching him in the eye during his first Christmas in WWE. Punk spoke about that incident on the September 19, 2011, edition of RAW, saying that Holly punched him so hard in his left eye, he still has a dead spot.

“I love Bob, though,” Punk said as he started to laugh. “Man, that business needs more guys like him right now.”

Holly is notorious for his stern demeanor and physical in-ring style. But incidents such as his physical beatdown of Matt Cappotelli on Tough Enough and a real-life beatdown of Rene Dupree at WWE live event in 2004 — which stemmed from Dupree getting a parking ticket in Holly’s rental car — have earned Holly a reputation that varies from locker room general to bully.

In Punk’s view, however, a guy like Holly maintained the integrity of the locker room and kept everybody in check.

“There’s nobody in that locker room that…you know… to me, there’s nobody in that locker room that’s, in a good way, an enforcer,” Punk continued. “Nobody is going to pick up the locker room, nobody is going to clean up after themselves, they just destroy [stuff].

“It was happening when I was there, I was the guy picking stuff up and that’s because Eddie Guerrero always told me ‘hey pick up the locker room…can you pick up the locker room before you go?’ And I’d be like ‘yes sir.’

“There’s a lot of slobs, I’d see guys take their wrist tape off and just throw it on the ground, you know what I mean, right next to a garbage can, stuff like that. But if you have a guy like Holly in the locker room, you’re not trying to pull that s**t.”

Punk has mentioned that he misses certain people and relationships from his WWE days. During an appearance on The Wrestling Compadres Slamcast, Punk spoke about keeping in touch with former colleagues.

“I’ve kept in touch with some genuine folks from there and there are some that, if I run into at an airport, I’d probably hug and say, ‘hey, how are you doing?’ and catch up real quick,” he said (h/t Wrestling Inc). “But, yeah, there [are] definitely people and situations, those are memories. Those are all good memories, but the thought of going back there is like the thought of going to summer school. It’s like, you have nightmares about it.”

Shortly after explaining his locker room enforcer theory, Punk moved on from the conversation.

“But I’m not there so who gives a s**t?” Punk said.

[Photo by Duane Prokop/Getty Images]

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