February 12, 2016

CM Punk UFC Debut Delayed, But Should Be Put Off For Good

By Raphael Garcia

The Ultimate Fighting Championship is the highest level of mixed martial arts. The best fighters in the world push themselves to attain Zuffa employment with the hopes of earning the largest paychecks in MMA. So with the best batch of fighters available, it's worth wondering why the UFC is so adamant to offer a celebrity such as former pro wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks the opportunity to step into the Octagon. This is especially the case after UFC Fight Night 82.

There were two important talking points that came out of the event last Saturday. The first was that former World Combat League kickboxing star Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson became a true title contender in the UFC welterweight division. The second was that Brooks would be facing Mickey Gall in his UFC debut at some point in the coming months. That is, until news broke Wednesday that Brooks would have to undergo back surgery, delaying the fight for an expected four to six weeks. Hopefully, that added time will give everyone involved the chance to step away from the situation. 

How would Brooks or other wrestling stars such as John Cena, Daniel Bryan or the Undertaker respond if a UFC fighter decided they have the skills to step into a major WWE event and perform? It’s safe to assume that the response would be highly negative. Even after a few years of training, the response would not change.

First, these injuries to the back and shoulder are imperative to a fighter’s ability to effectively compete. While Brooks downplayed the back injury and compared it to the surgery that Cain Velasquez is currently going through; that doesn’t mean that his 37-year old body is devoid of lingering issues. This is especially true when taking into consideration Punk’s long-tenured and well-documented professional wrestling career.

Second, giving Gall additional time to train only allows him to get better at the craft. He already has an extensive advantage in experience over his opponent, with additional training under Jim and Dan Miller; one should expect that chasm to continue to grow. At 24-years of age, Gall showed an eerie amount of poise when stepping into the Octagon and that could carry him through the hype storm that is this coming fight against CM Punk.

It’s clear that CM Punk will attract a massive amount of attention when he finally does step into the Octagon. He’s so popular that there’s a chance he will grab more eyes than Brock Lesnar’s debut back in 2008 at UFC 81. But even he did so with a wealth of wrestling and one outside bout under his belt. Brooks has none of those foundations to lean on and he, and the UFC, is setting themselves up for a dangerous revelation.

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