WWE Superstars Weigh In On CM Punk’s MMA Debut At UFC 203

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Opinions have been split as to whether former WWE star CM Punk is doing the right thing in making a foray into the UFC world. His comically short workout in advance of his MMA debut at UFC 203 drew the ire of many, and similar reactions occurred after Punk compared his UFC activity with the MLB debut of Tim Tebow.

With that on the table, Brian Campbell of ESPN.com spoke with a variety of current and former WWE stars on their thoughts about Punk’s transition and, predictably, opinions were largely mixed. Legendary wrestler Scott Hall expressed skepticism about the intentions of all parties, including the UFC itself:

“I think people tune in to watch Brock win and I think they are going to tune in to watch Punk lose. I think they employed that strategy in their marketing so if he does anything but get creamed I think he comes out OK. They are not building him up as a big hype or anything. They are taking the strategy like let’s wait and see. They even showed him training in the cage and all the others guys were kind of standing around yelling at him because it is kind of like, ‘Let’s see what you got.'”

Brock Lesnar, who is easily the most famous athlete to take part in both professional wrestling and MMA, dismissed the notion that Punk could be nearly as successful as he has been. Lesnar indicated that “none of (the crossover athletes) have ever main-evented and sold pay-per-views and put asses in seats like Brock Lesnar” and, quite simply, that there “will never be another Brock Lesnar.”

Elsewhere, Seth Rollins took a different approach, greatly praising CM Punk’s efforts in the wrestling world and sending his best wishes for the future:

“He’s a guy who led the charge for a long time. He’s one of the first indie guys in a long, long time to really shake [up] the main roster in WWE and he paved the way for Daniel Bryan, for myself, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro, and those guys.

“Say what you will about his attitude and his relationship with the company right now, but I wish him the best and I hope that he is successful — win, lose or draw.”

A lot has been said on both sides of the theoretical aisle as to whether CM Punk is doing the right thing, but he will have the opportunity to prove critics wrong as early as Saturday evening in Cleveland. Until then, and potentially after, the opinions will flow freely in both directions.