Joe Rogan is not a fan of the UFC’s CM Punk experiment. Last year, the promotion announced it had signed the former WWE superstar, and he would compete sometime in 2016 once he’d trained enough and was ready. Since then, Punk has been hard at work training with Duke Roufus alongside fighters like Anthony Pettis and Erik Koch. And now his first opponent has been picked in an unusual way. Here’s Joe Rogan talking about it in a podcast with oldschool MMA legend Bas Rutten:
“If you haven’t seen it, there’s a show called ‘Looking For A Fight’. It’s Dana White, Matt Serra, and Nick the Tooth, and what they do is they go to small MMA shows all over the world, and they see fights and find talents. And there’s where they found that kid Mickey Gall, the guy who they’re setting up to fight CM Punk.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that guy. I don’t understand this whole thing. Well, I also think it’s ridiculous for him to fight in the UFC. I think he should fight in a small organization. Take a fight in a small organization, build yourself up. I have always said that’s what should have happened with Brock Lesnar.”
Bas Rutten chimed in, as well, noting the number of injuries Punk had suffered. Most of the guys coming out of pro wrestling have a long list of things wrong with their bodies, and CM Punk wrestled for a long time in a lot of hard knock leagues. And surprise, surprise, his eventual entry into the UFC keeps getting punctuated with injury news.
There’s a pretty big difference between Brock Lesnar and CM Punk, as well. Lesnar has been a freak athlete his whole life. He dominated at amateur wrestling, going 106-5 en route to becoming an NCAA Division I Heavyweight Wrestling Champion. He walked into the Minnesota Vikings training camp off the street and almost managed to make the cut and go pro. Meanwhile, CM Punk has … a couple of years of casual jiu jitsu training. He may be a phenomenal pro wrestler and showman, but that doesn’t come close to equaling Lesnar’s athletic pedigree.
Worse, Punk is getting a hand picked opponent from outside the UFC. When Brock Lesnar arrived, he was given former UFC champion Frank Mir. As Joe Rogan notes, CM Punk’s eventual opponent comes from the minor leagues and was brought up to face Punk. That’s almost unheard of in UFC history, and shows you just how far the league is lowering its standards to make this CM Punk thing happen.
All in all, it’s not the noblest moment in UFC history. But as a bit of fun and an interesting test to see how a public figure can compete, it’s not a complete mockery of the sport. That distinction goes to Bellator after its brutal freakshow doubleheader involving Kimbo Slice vs. Dada 5000 and Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock 3.