Last night, the Ultimate Fighting Championship took time from a major event to announce their latest signing — something we hadn’t seen at a UFC show in some time.
Of course, Bellator MMA did it a few weeks ago with American Kickboxing Academy’s young gun Arron Pico, as we described here at Caged Insider.
But unlike their counterparts at Bellator, who used that allotted time to introduce a blue-chip prospect in Pico, who has won wrestling and boxing competitions galore (in fact, his AKA trainers describe Pico as possibly the greatest talent they’ve seen), the UFC brought us…
Former WWE Champion CM Punk.
Apparently the UFC is hoping Mr. Punk will follow in the footsteps of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, who acquired a sizable fan base in the pro wrestling before making the switch to MMA. Lesnar became a great attraction for the UFC — at a time when the consensus top heavyweight fought elsewhere.
Of course, there are a few basic differences between the two, Messrs Punk and Lesnar.
In fact, on closer inspection — there’s actually not much in common.
Lesnar was a decorated amateur wrestler long before he entered the scripted world of pro wrestling. He earned national titles at the junior college level before earning a scholarship at the University of Minnesota, where he capped off his collegiate career with the NCAA Division 1 championship in 2000.
Punk… has apparently no background in wrestling, boxing, or any other combative sports. He has been reportedly training in jiu-jitsu under Rener Gracie, who recently mentioned that Punk hadn’t earned any official ranking.
“He’s showing up for two weeks at a time,” says Gracie in an interview with Chuck Mindenhall at MMA Fighting. “He’s training exclusively with me, 100 percent, then he’s out. Then he comes back six months later. So, there’s not been enough consistency to concern ourselves with belts.”
Oh, and Lesnar had already fought in professional MMA by the time the UFC came calling. Punk hasn’t fought anywhere.
Lesnar was a massive heavyweight who plied his trade at a time when former the UFC title was held by light heavyweight champ Randy Couture. When the two fought, they looked two or three weight divisions apart.
Punk… well, Punk isn’t even sure which weight class he will compete in. In his odd interview last night, he described himself as needing to do a ‘test’ first.
Is there an up-side to any of this? Sure. Gracie mentions that the 36 year old Punk has great retention. By all accounts he’s a talented athlete with a built in fan base.
And then, there was this:
— Cole Miller (@colemillerATT) December 7, 2014
Hey, maybe he’ll surprise.
It’s just that usually, if time and money are used to hype a fighter, we at least already know that it’s for a fighter.
CM Punk, of this writing, isn’t a fighter at all — which makes it all feel like a big waste of time.