It’s been a week since UFC 225 graced us with a pretty violent, pretty entertaining card, and in the time since, we’ve had to digest what we saw.
Mostly, we’ve had to time to reflect on why the Great CM Punk Experiment was a miserable failure.
In case you don’t know, the ex-pro wrestler made his second trip to the Octagon that night, for what was his second MMA fight ever. He faced an utter nobody in Mike Jackson. And for three full rounds, he got his butt thoroughly kicked.
This outcome was pretty much expected. When Punk debuted at UFC 203, he got handled by another nobody in Mickey Gall, and back then we were left wondering why – why is this accomplished entertainer in the world of fake, scripted matches fighting? Why is this guy with zero skill taking up space in the UFC when so many other more serious fighters deserve a crack? Of course, the answer was obvious: The UFC thought it could make a buck off the spectacle, and maybe, just maybe, Punk would surprise us.
The only surprise was how bad he looked, back then and just under two years later.
I mean, you know you suck when your own jiu-jitsu coach, Daniel Wanderley, thinks you should maybe just have grappling matches going forward. As per MMAFighting:
“I hope he continues training and maybe enters a jiu-jitsu competition, something he has always talked about,” Wanderley said. “I hope he comes back with a good mindset and keeps training jiu-jitsu because that’s good for his life. I think that’s a perfect sport for him.
“I think he should continue training kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, but training for a [MMA] fight is too hard. I wish he would go on to compete in jiu-jitsu because you face opponents at your age, your skill level, your belt rank, so you don’t fight someone more experienced than you. That’s my recommendation for him.”
So why did the CM Punk Experiment fail? After all, once upon a time there was a dude named Kimbo Slice, who had no MMA training or experience, and he ended up giving TUF its highest ratings ever, and made for some nice upticks in pay-per-view sales. What’s the difference between the two?
Well, say what you want about Kimbo, but at a very basic level, he could at least fight. We saw that in his YouTube vids, and we saw that in at least some of his fights. Punk, on the other hand… whenever Punk was in the cage, he didn’t exactly elevate the sport. He actually made it look bad. You see, we’re way past the point where having just “heart” is enough to warrant respect for a particular athlete. You need a modicum of skill. And Punk just doesn’t have it.
If there’s a lesson to be learned from this, it’s that our UFC freak-show fights should involve people who can, in some way, shape or form, scrap. This means no more pro wrestlers with zero amateur wrestling backgrounds.
Let’s make the UFC great again.