There’s no doubt that CM Punk is the hottest news story in the world of MMA this week. As he prepares to make his professional debut against Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio, this Saturday it seems everyone has a hot take – including UFC heavyweight ‘Big’ Ben Rothwell who anticipates a one sided fight where Gall’s hand will be raised in victory.
“Mickey Gall goes out and just absolutely annihilates him,” said Rothwell. “I mean, bad. Like, makes us almost start laughing, it’s so bad. And this is why, because I’m going to feel very good, like there’s truth, there’s justice in this sport. And hey, CM Punk is going to get paid. Like, major money. So it’s not like we can laugh and point at him.
“He’s going to be like, ‘I’ve never fought before, I don’t even have an amateur record. I came in here and took on one of your guys with two pro fights in the UFC. So it’s just like, his worst case scenario isn’t that bad. We get entertained because he’s getting pummelled. Some of his fans might be a little sad, but it’s just like, whatever, he carries on, and then he proves it, he comes back and tries to win the second fight or whatever, where I feel like there’d be a type of justice or like a truth.”
The move to sign CM Punk by the UFC has had the community split down the middle. On the one hand it’s an understandable business move to try and capture the same cross over pro wrestling audience Brock Lesnar brought to the table. However, purists will argue that in the UFC the best must always fight the best. Rothwell’s opinion is somewhere in that grey area.
“I have a mix of emotions, I see many points of views,” Rothwell said on this week’s episode of The MMA Hour. “On a business end, it’s great. More eyes on it. And then as a veteran of the sport, it’s like, man, there’s no dues paid. So it’s just an interesting thing. I don’t try to think too negatively about CM Punk. He’s a guy that was presented with an opportunity. He’s taking advantage of the opportunity, and he’s just taking it where he can go.
“It’s not like he came in and strong-armed the UFC and said, ‘You’re going to give me this,’ and we’re like, ‘Oh my God, he committed a crime, he’s forcing them to pay him.’ No, the UFC offered him a contract, he accepted it, which any one of us may have done. So it’s like, people need to get over it. That’s life. Crazy opportunities happen.
“More money getting thrown around, that could be good for everybody if it starts getting directed correctly. So I just try to look at that. And if anything, for Stipe, I congratulated him when I knew that CM Punk was getting put on, because he is getting paid on pay-per-view buys. That’s going to help him, so that was a good thing for him. So there’s positives from this, and more eyes on the sport is always good. There is no doubt that CM Punk has a fan base. You cannot deny it and they’re going to watch him. That’s good for us.”