Former WWE superstar CM Punk could have used a folding chair or a tag-team partner. Out of pro wrestling’s scripted ring, his first visit into the octagon didn’t last long.
Punk, who was one of WWE’s biggest stars when he left it two years ago to try his hand in ultimate fighting, tapped out just 2:14 into the first round after he was pummeled and choked by welterweight Mickey Gall.
The 38-year-old Punk charged Gall but was on his back less than 10 seconds into the fight. Pinned up against the fencing, he was unable to get out from under Gall, who smashed a right hand into Punk’s temple and then kneeled on top of him and swung both arms like a pendulum, connecting with one hard shot after another.
Punk nearly got free, but Gall regained a dominant position and squeezed his opponent’s head like he wanted to snap it off. Punk had no choice but to tap his hand on the mat, ending the fight the way many inside UFC predicted. “Yeah you know in life you go big or you go home,” Punk said afterward. “I just like to take challenges. It was a hell of a climb, I didn’t get to the summit tonight but it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up it doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.”
The 24-year-old Gall never doubted he would crush Punk. “I know my kill stuff would be more than his kill stuff,” he said. “I knew what to expect and I was ready to dominate.”
Prior to Miocic’s bout, former heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum won a unanimous decision over Travis Browne. Following the heated bout, Werdum put his gloved hands to his face and was pretending to wipe away tears when he was confronted by Browne’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan. Werdum tried to kick Tarverdyan and security rushed into the ring as both corners jawed at each other.
Just climbing the steps into the octagon was something of a victory for Punk, who became a villain of sorts inside UFC circles as fans, wrestlers and fellow fighters questioned his motives for taking up a new sport with no experience.
He was accustomed to the outside distractions-media requests, fans and travel-for years. But despite working with Duke Roufus and other top trainers at the Roufusport Martial Arts Academy in Milwaukee for the past year, he wasn’t ready for Gall. Still, Punk intends to stick with his new love.
“Obviously, Mickey’s a hell of a fighter. I will be back, believe it or not,” Punk said. “This was the most fun I’ve had in my life, second best night of my life after marrying my wife. I know there’s a lot of doubters but listen, life’s about falling down and getting back up. Doesn’t matter how many time you get knocked down, get back up.”