Phil Brooks, popularly known among pro-wrestling fans as CM Punk, lost his first fight in UFC on Sunday against Mickey Gall. The much-talked about fight was over even before it became a contest. Yes, in just a couple of minutes. In a couple of minutes, Punk was beaten like never before.
The former WWE superstar left the sports entertainment giants two years ago after an ego clash with the ruling McMahon dynasty.
He quit WWE but didn’t leave the ring as ‘Best in the World’ went a step ahead into the most brutal sport in the world – Mixed Martial Arts.
With no prior experience, Punk took on a tedious two-year training to make himself compatible for the octagonal. But his inhibitions to get rid of his WWE image denied the wrestler early impact in the sport.
Punk’s training in UFC had been under media scanner ever since it started. A video recently circulated mocking his training sessions, in which the 38-year old wrestler simply looked out of sorts. Responding to the footage at a promotional event for UFC 203 fight, Punk said, “I’m not gonna be the same guy you saw on ‘a television show’ at UFC 203.”
This has pretty much been all what Punk has talked about ever since his dramatic exit from WWE. The pro-wrestler has fought tooth and nail to overcome the WWE shadow that follows him wherever he goes. He’s been hell bent to convince everyone that he is not the same wrestler anymore. WWE has long forgotten him, and his disastrous exit. It is Punk who keeps himself associated with the company, even after claims that he has nothing to do with it.
Entering UFC 203 to fight against a much younger opponent in Gall, Punk did not even leave behind his WWE moniker. His entrance music was the same as WWE – The Cult of Personality. It sure excited his fans in the arena, but again showed how he was still, in some way or the other, associated with the sport he left behind two years ago.
In the ring against 24-year old Gall, who has trained in martial arts all his life, Punk went ahead with WWE tactics and tried a full blown attacking punch. He missed and was taken to the ground by Gall, who pinned him down and started the assault. Punk again used a WWE tactic, and tried using the ringside (cage, in this case) to get himself out of the submission manoeuvre. The commentators mocked him for the move and the fans booed.
The result of the match was predictable. It took 2 minutes for Punk to tap out to the submission hold. As much as WWE fans wanted Punk to “get to the summit”, Punk’s flawed tactics were evident before and during the clash.
Before trying to punch his way out of Gall, Punk should have remembered what he wrote for Players Tribune, “For starters, there’s the footwork. Everybody is paying attention to your hands, but where your feet go is maybe 10 times more important. How fast they get you somewhere is probably even more important than that.”
Punk knows what he needs to do in the ring. But it seems he’s finding it difficult to completely turn off the WWE wrestler inside him. CM Punk should perhaps build a new persona as Phil Brooks, and leave his WWE ‘gimmick’ behind. It might just give his UFC career some direction.