I know that a lot of you don’t like professional wrestling and don’t understand why it would be covered on an MMA blog. I can understand your displeasure to a degree, but please forgive me for this one because it has a real MMA slant.
WWE superstar CM Punk has worked with Rener Gracie for years on his jiu jitsu. He even wears a Gracie Jiu Jitsu logo on his shorts when he wrestles. He’s also a huge fan of the UFC and attends their shows regularly. He has even talked of possibly fighting there one day, but obviously his day job was standing in the way of that.
Until he walked out Monday night.
Watch CM Punk’s interview with Ariel Helwani from last week where he talks UFC, leaving the WWE and more:
SBN’s pro wrestling blog Cageside Seats (via Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Radio) has all the details if you want to check them out but the short version is that, after working for over 40 minutes in Sunday’s Royal Rumble, Punk was left completely off a hastily re-written Monday Night Raw the next night. He was obviously offended by that, and informed Vince McMahon that he was walking out. And he did.
Many of you might believe this is fake, or what’s known as a “work” in professional wrestling circles. It is a storyline-driven form of entertainment, as you likely know. But by all indications so far, this is 100% legit. Punk had reportedly been very unhappy with the direction of his character for a while now, and made it clear that he would weigh his options very carefully when his contract expired in July. I guess he just decided to bump up the timetable a bit.
Now, here’s where the MMA part comes in. Punk did a long interview with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani last week that sort of foreshadowed some of this stuff. He talked candidly about what a switch to MMA might mean for him at 35 years old. He’s a “white belt for life” in BJJ, but only because he refuses belt promotions. He’s been training for years. He also reportedly has extensive standup training (which is obvious if you watch him wrestle), but the specifics of which have never been documented to my knowledge.
But the most interesting part is how he thinks Dana White might potentially use him – could his notoriety lead to a UFC fight right away? Could he be a competitor on The Ultimate Fighter? He appeared to be open to all of that.
Right now it’s obviously way too early to tell what will happen with Punk, but the potential for a move to MMA is there. What that means is a whole other post in itself.
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