10 Thoughts On… CM Punk Signing With UFC at UFC 181

CM Punk, fresh from a clean break with WWE, has signed with UFC for a future Mixed Martial Arts fight.

1. CM Punk signing is beneath the UFC … but I can see why they’re doing it.

And that’s money. The UFC was down 40% in total profits and they don’t have GSP anymore, they’re only bankable PPV draw. Ronda Rousey gets mainstream coverage but isn’t getting massive PPV buyrates; Jon Jones is the best fighter in the world but people aren’t plunking down money for him. Thus someone, ANYONE, who can boost buyrates is going to be brought in.

2. He wasn’t a huge PPV draw in the WWE, and never had huge eyeballs following him beyond their core audience.

Punk pushed a ton of merchandise, and got some mainstream coverage two years ago, but WWE buyrates weren’t exploding with him headlining. I’m not sure how that’ll actually translate to UFC PPV success as WWE fans aren’t buying many PPVs beyond the big four … and even then, most of the hardcore audience has the WWE Network and isn’t paying for PPVs anymore.

3. Brock Lesnar was a star from a peak era, Punk not so much.

The difference between Brock and Phil Brooks is that Brock was a huge star coming into the UFC at a time when being a top guy in the WWE meant you were a significantly bigger star than you would be today. The WWE is in decline, has been for a significant period of time, and his “star power” is up for debate. He pushed a ton of merchandise BUT the UFC isn’t a merchandise driven company. They’re a PPV driven company and I’m not sure how much people will be willing to pay to see him fight as opposed to those who’ll just buy the t-shirt.

4. Lesnar was an NCAA champion and athletic freak, Brooks … well … he trains BJJ

Brock Lesnar could at least be thrown into the UFC with one fight under his belt because he had an athletic pedigree coming in. Punk … well … his most notable athletic accomplishment has been doing BJJ every now and again. Throw in the fact that he’s on the other side of 30, has bad knees and has stated he’s had over a dozen concussions and this might not end well.

5. Punk was a non athlete who became a pro wrestler, nothing more. He’s going to get hurt, SERIOUSLY hurt, in MMA.

Name me one middleweight or welterweight on the UFC roster who won’t absolutely destroy him? You can’t. Hell, I’d wager that there are at least 30 guys outside the UFC who’d ruin him, not including the Bellator middleweight roster. Punk is a nice story, and might add some curiosity buys from bored neckbeards, but if he wants to step into the UFC against someone on a PPV card he’s going to get hurt. Either they’ll bring in someone who’s going to beat up a pro wrestler in humiliating fashion, which is never dull. I can watch Bart Gunn vs. Butterbean all day. Or they’ll have to find a Scott Carson type to give him a lay up win … before someone with actual talent beats a hole in his face.

6. This is about the same as signing one of the Kardashian girls to fight Ronda Rousey. There is one difference: at least a Kardashian would bring PPV buys.

As much as we crap on Ronda’s opponents as not being in her league, which is fairly much often, at least they’ve been training for some time and most have at least a modicum of athletic bonafides. Punk doesn’t. This is not far from bringing in whichever Kardashian sister who’s Ronda’s size for a fight … and I bet Kim would add at least 250,000 in buys to any card she’d be on. She’s the ultimate needle pusher; as much as we make fun of them for being worthless and still being insanely famous they do at least get eyeballs on them all the time. People buy all their products, turn in to all 800 of their shows and multiple websites keep the lights on because of their shenanigans. Punk may get some hits for pro wrestling heads but Dave Meltzer isn’t banking on CM Punk news weekly to pay the mortgage.

7. This just reeks of desperation … it feels like something Bellator would do, not the UFC

I could forgive Spike TV and Scott Coker if they signed him, if only because they’re the clear second place in the MMA marketplace. Thus you can get away with stunts like this. The UFC is supposed to be the big leagues and this … this is a bush league move.

8. Punk’s first fight will be interesting

Dana White and company gave the same reasoning to bring in Punk as they did for Brock Lesnar, which was interesting. You’ll be able to tell how highly they view Punk by who they match him up with right out the gate. If it’s someone they bring in who’s there to lose, they view him seriously. If it’s someone like Dylan Andrews … then it could be very interesting.

9. Punk becomes the fourth guy in the modern era of the UFC to debut at 0-0

The WWE has a roster of some guys with legitimate athletic bonafides. Jack Swagger and Nic Nemeth (Dolph Ziggler) both had substantive degrees of amateurs wrestling success. If anyone was going to jump into MMA I always thought it’d be one of those two. Punk is like going to buy either a brand new Raybach or Bugatti … and winding up with a used (and abused) Toyota Tercel.

10. Oh well … at least we have an amazing January of fights to look forward to

If everything holds up we might have the best month of MMA ever.

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