In case you missed it, UFC President Dana White called wrestling “fake sh*t,” and it went over with the wrestling community about as well as you think it would. Now, in a recent interview with Rolling Stone about his reinvention as someone who punches for real, Phil “CM Punk” Brooks reminds us that there’s a big difference between MMA and pro wrestling:
“Everything I did prior to me training here full-time was to protect the other guy, to put them before me,” he explains. “People get so mad at me when I say this, but [pro wrestling] was fake. This is not. When we do jiu-jitsu, you’re getting hit. That changes everything drastically.”
I can see why people continually get mad when people call pro wrestling fake. Usually, it’s posed as a questioning insult, like fans of wrestling will somehow be shocked to learn that it’s predetermined, like there’s (spoiler alert) no Santa Claus. But, unlike the crushing discovery that Santa and your mom have the exact same handwriting, the assertion that it’s not real can be perceived as a disrespect for the work wrestlers put into their craft. Some called the responses given by people like Seth Rollins over-sensitive, but when you’ve gone through years of training and traveling and injuries and, let’s face it, like a million hours of CrossFit a week (yes, that is how time works, sshhh), the idea that physical strain isn’t real is incredibly insulting. I mean, pro wrestling is super hard to do, guys. Now we have CM Punk, someone who has the opportunities he does because of the time he spent in wrestling taking an insulting tack when trying to describe how different his new life is, and yeah, bro, of course people are gonna get mad when you throw the same thing out that you yourself probably had to defend against for years. But I guess “BJJ is physically demanding in a completely different way from pro wrestling” doesn’t quite fire up the blood like “lol fake sh*t.”
There’s a constant overlap between UFC and pro wrestling, with both fandoms jumping at the chance to remind you of all the reasons one is better or more entertaining or harder than the other, when, really, they’re still two completely different things. Brock Lesnar went back and forth, and now Ronda Rousey may or may not show up again at the next WrestleMania, so it seems to me that, instead of the posturing and trash talking (hahaha good luck), it would be more fiscally responsible to just be chill and let everyone get the most exposure out of it as possible. Way less butthurt tweets to deal with, I promise.