I don’t know if you guys heard about this because we barely covered it around these parts, but former WWE Champion CM Punk made his MMA debut over the weekend and it did not go well. It was the Matt Lauer’s “Commander-In-Chief Forum” of MMA fights, basically, with Punk failing to land even a single strike before being taken down, ground-and-pounded into oblivion, and submitted with a rear-naked choke in the first round by his opponent, 2-0 prospect Mickey Gall.
Though Punk was quick to congratulate his opponent and salvage what was left of his pride with an inspiring post-fight speech, he was raked over the coals by both the MMA media and his former employers at WWE for his piss-poor performance, and informed by UFC President Dana White that his next fight, should he choose to take one, would probably not take place in the UFC.
But CM Punk had a dream and sort of achieved it and that’s all that matters, is what the bulk of the argument seems to be from his most adamant defenders. No matter how woefully unprepared or plain delusional he was in thinking he could honestly hang in the sport’s most elite fighting organization after just two years of training, the important thing to take away here is that a multi-millionaire was able to leverage his popularity into an unearned opportunity and should be granted complete and total immunity from criticism for doing so, #Trump2016.
CM Punk was a “warrior” for stepping foot in the octagon on Saturday. He was a people’s champion, he claimed a moral victory, and anyone poking fun at him is obviously just a jealous, basement-dwelling, closeted WWE-loving nerd who only picks fights from behind his keyboard.
Have I covered all the bases yet? Because with his almost transcendentally atrocious performance now behind us, let’s talk turkey — specifically, how much turkey Mr. Phil Brooks was paid to achieve his lifelong dream that he’d only been preparing for since 2014. And that number is …
Five. Hundred. Thousand. Plus whatever money he’ll make off the back end when the pay-per-view numbers come in. So, so brave is Mr. Punk.
Maybe it’s because of how strong the reactions have been to any “MMA” article written about Punk in the past couple of weeks, but I feel the need to disclose a couple things here before getting to my main point.
- I do not hate, nor am I jealous of CM Punk.
- I am an unabashed WWE fan. I was heavy into the sport during the “Attitude Era,” fell off a bit in high school/college, and have recently rekindled my fandom thanks in no small part to the excellent stuff being churned out by With Spandex (I even caught Backlash in its entirety last night).
As I’ve said before, the fault here does not lie in Punk for having a dream nor even the UFC for giving him the stage in which to “achieve” it. It lies in the Ohio Athletic Commission, an organization that was installed in order to determine (or, you know, sanction) which people among us are actually qualified to compete in what could potentially be a life-threatening sport. And when your best/only justification for allowing Punk to compete is to compare him to Brock Lesnar — which, no he’s not and anyone who thinks he is can get right the f*ck out of here with that nonsense — then you’re failing to do your job on even the most basic level.
All of us have dreams, but having a dream does not inherently justify your compulsion to carry it out or free you from criticism when it fails, especially when you didn’t actually put in the work necessary to achieve it in the first place. There are dreams that are impossible, illogical, and just plain stupid. That’s why they’re dreams.
If I was a famous former hockey player with a heavy lisp and a complete misunderstanding of basic football terminology whose dream it was to be an NFL sportscaster, should I expect to be allowed to call the Super Bowl? Apparently so, because life is just one big Hallmark movie where everything works out in the end if you just believe enough. That seems to be the kind of logic on display here, and it is just dangerously misguided on every conceivable level. Allowing CM Punk to fight in the UFC again would be grounds for a criminal negligence lawsuit, and any attempts to debate this will be result in your nose being shoved in doo-doo.
For what it’s worth, Mickey Gall made just $30,000 for his efforts. Funny how no one’s talking about what a warrior that guy is.