CM Punk hasn’t even stepped foot inside the Octagon yet and he already is a divisive topic among MMA fans.
It isn’t difficult to sit here and think that this stunt won’t amount to anything for Punk. There are probably more fans thinking he can’t make it than those who actually think he can.
The best part about that is these fans don’t have anything to base it on yet because Punk hasn’t even begun fully training for his professional debut. There is literally no basis on which to judge how well he will transition to MMA. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
The 36-year-old’s debut won’t come until at least the end of the 2015 calendar year. By then, it will be an even more heated topic for fans to bicker about. Some will say, “He won’t succeed.” Others will follow him and praise him for having the guts to stand across from another man who wants to bash his face in. But until that time comes, we all should just stop talking about his transition to MMA.
That’s right. Just stop. Completely.
The topic of how he’ll fare comes up far too often, and yet we’re only in the embryonic stages of his MMA career.
Every other day there has been some sort of news pertaining to Punk.
What camp will he join? Well, we honestly just found that out a few days ago. It’s Roufusport.
What song will he walk out to? Why does his music choice matter?
Who will his opponent be?
Again, infant stages, people. We’re not even near the normal eight-week camps that precede a fight.
It’s all just an endless cycle that keeps people arguing over nothing.
Sure, the UFC signed a professional wrestler who has never competed in any sort of sport outside of the sports entertainment realm of the WWE. But why are we criticizing the man for trying? Even if his first fight goes terribly, he gave it a shot and he’ll probably be back for a second effort.
At this juncture, however, it is pointless to continue the debate of whether or not the UFC made a ridiculous move in signing him. How does it lessen the sport when we have already had Hong-Man Choi fight Jose Canseco, plus other ridiculously absurd fights.
Everybody needs to give this some time and see what unfolds before it gets criticized and over-analyzed. Maybe Punk pulls off a win in his debut. Who knows? Maybe he’ll score an omoplata or a twister. Then will that vindicate the UFC’s signing?
This doesn’t just apply to the fans, but also — and, perhaps, more so — to the fighters who have called out the former WWE superstar. I’d include a list of fighters here who have called him out, but honestly it would take forever to write every name.
It’s a quick and easy payday to some guys, which is understandable. Punk is a debuting professional fighter with a marquee name, and anybody who is already well established in the game might certainly get easy show money and a win bonus. However, the benefits stop at the payday.
Why waste time with someone who is 0-0 and doesn’t advance you in the title picture? It’s a title contention detour. What happens when he possibly pulls off the upset? It kind of kills any title aspirations for an established fighter. Losing to Punk would pretty much be a black mark on any UFC fighter’s career. It might even lead to a pink slip if the fighter is low enough down the totem pole.
Furthermore, any commission that sanctions a bout between Punk and someone like Cathal Pendred, one of the fighters who has put his name in the hat, would be out of its mind. The UFC’s roster is filled with veteran fighters who have seen the inside of a cage or ring on numerous occasions. These are guys who have developed a high-level mixed martial arts game after years of training, and often after years of competing in related sports such as wrestling, jiu-jitsu, judo or Muay Thai. Punk is far too green to fight anyone who currently resides on the UFC’s roster. This alone should end the speculation surrounding Punk’s debut opponent.
This is going to continue to be a mess until Punk finally steps into the cage and takes on his first professional fight. That is, unless we all just let it be until we’re in the final stages of his preparation for that first bout.
The only solace is that there is less than a year until Punk steps into the cage, assuming everything goes smoothly and he doesn’t sustain any injuries. Until then, fans should just let it unfold like any other debuting fighter. And fighters should stop trying to get an easy payday. In the end, Punk will get somebody who is just as fresh to the sport. Then fans will have something new to argue about: Why is CM Punk getting such an easy debut?