Most fighters have to work for years before getting a call from the UFC, but CM Punk is an exception to the rule. He’s making his mixed martial arts debut this weekend at UFC 203 with a grand total of zero real fights on his resume. The rules not applying seems to extend past the UFC as well, all the way to the Ohio Athletic Commission overseeing the event in Cleveland.
OAC rules state all pro fighters must have a winning amateur record consisting of at least five fights. That didn’t stop them from giving CM Punk the okay to fight Mickey Gall (2-0 pro, 3-0 amateur). The five fight requirement can be waived by the commission’s executive director, and here’s how he justified the exemption (via MMA Fighting):
“CM Punk has a wrestling background similar to Brock Lesner being permitted to fight in the past,” Profato said.
“There was also confidence in the matchmaker from the UFC and the past bouts he has submitted in previous UFC events in Ohio,” Profato argued.
Oh man, they’re basically putting this on UFC matchmaker Joe Silva if things go horribly wrong and CM Punk gets hurt. Fortunately the overworked exec is retiring soon and won’t have to deal with any more stuff like this. As for the Brock Lesnar comparison, Lesnar’s wrestling background included extensive amateur wrestling — he was an NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion with a 106-5 record. CM Punk? Nothing of the sort.
The Ohio commission is shrugging their shoulders on this one and letting the UFC slip a questionable fight onto their card due to their past history of proper regulatory behavior. We’re not sure whether to be impressed by the commission’s candor or kinda shocked that the UFC gets that kind of benefit of the doubt. At least all the cards are on the table. No one is walking into this fight between CM Punk and Mickey Gall unaware of the experience disparity.
But it’s an athletic commission’s job to keep inexperienced newbs from being thrashed by hardened professionals. In this case, they’re stepping aside and letting the show go on. We’ll know whether it was the right call after UFC 203 on Saturday night.
(Via MMA Fighting)