CM Punk has never participated in a fight that wasn’t scripted before and as a result, Punk has seen a boatload of positive and negatives comments throughout social media in the past two weeks.
At the tender age of 36-years-old, not only is this an obscene age to have a first career match in the UFC, it is even crazier that it will be Punk’s first career mix martial arts (MMA) match. Although Punk was “The Best in the World” during his professional wrestling career, fighting in the squared circle is quite different than fighting in the octagon.
Punk’s career lasted roughly six years with the WWE, but during those six years he became one of the most popular wrestlers in the industry and truly defined himself as one of the best wrestlers in the past few decades. His straight edge attitude, mixed with his spectacular ability to speak, and in-ring technique won over fans immediately. Although, WWE creative did not seem to agree with Punk at times, Punk continued to win over fans and rise to the top of the WWE ranks.
Like most good things, they all eventually have to come to an end. Punk’s “pipe bomb” in 2011 looked to be the end of Punk, as his contract was expiring, but he eventually decided to re-sign, wanting to finally fulfill his dream of headlining WrestleMania. However, two and a half years later, Punk’s dream still had not happened. After putting his body through hell every day of the year and with things not getting any better, Punk got fed up and left.
Finally revealing his side of the story on Colt Cobana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast, Punk’s name became more intriguing than the debut of Sting, and his career had shifted to the UFC after announcing his signing at UFC 181. Causing a media circus is now commonplace for Punk, so it was no surprise that there was a huge reaction when Punk announced his decision.
Many well-known athletes reacted to Punk’s signing, but which was your favorite?
15 Nate Diaz, UFC
The Stockton, California native is not shy when it comes to expressing what he thinks. Dana White has been known to get into the ring after every Diaz is in to stop him from doing something stupid, but unfortunately Dana White can’t control his Twitter account. In a simple slight to Punk, Diaz tweeted the UFC and Punk, asking “Why?” Diaz's comments became real vocal during an interview with MMAJunkie.com when he said "He might do great, but why does he get a chance? He’s an amateur. You’re going to put an amateur in there with pros? That makes us all amateurs, so I think it’s ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, f**k him, f**k the whole situation."
14 Bobby Lashley, Former WWE Superstar
If anyone can relate to Punk signing with the UFC, it’s Bobby Lashley. Although Lashley had previous experience as a collegiate wrestler, unlike Punk, Lashley went from the WWE to MMA. Lashley was quite impressive during his run in MMA, and reacted to Punk with nothing but happiness and optimism. He said on his twitter page: "Big respect to @CMPunk! Do whatever you want to do champ and give the critics something to talk about."
13 Jim Ross, Former WWE Announcer
When Jim Ross isn’t too busy trying to sell the world his BBQ sauce, he’s busy making some smart comments about the world of professional wrestling. He did this when Punk announced his signing with the UFC, by congratulating him on the accomplishment and understanding the business behind the deal. Here's a quote from his column that you can see in full here:
"For White, signing Punk is a no-lose situation. Punk brings with him immense name identity globally via WWE, and his main event visibility there for the past several years. When one's former company -- WWE -- is in more than 150 countries in multiple languages, then one of their top and most popular stars is going to be known around the world, which makes Punk a highly marketable fighter -- at worst, one time."
12 Chris Jericho, WWE Superstar
After CM Punk left the WWE, his career began to be compared to Chris Jericho quite frequently, because he was in the process of a very similar scenario that Jericho went through. Jericho left the WWE over unhappiness with the company, saying that he would never return to the business, but eventually returned after a two-year absence. Even though CM Punk called out Jericho in his podcast with Colt Cobana, Jericho still responded to the Punk comments, tweeting "What a week for #CMPUNK! A #UFC contract and two HUGE podcasts..."Hopefully Punk’s success in the UFC can match Jericho’s other passion of music and his band Fozzy, who have sold thousands of records.
11 Tito Ortiz, UFC Fighter
Ortiz is one of the most outspoken MMA fighters to ever step foot in the octagon. Trying to find a good quote from Ortiz is as easy as finding a sale on Black Friday, so Ortiz was bound to respond to the Punk signing. Unfortunately this time around, Ortiz did not go off like he normally does during his press conferences, but simply responded in a neutral way, saying in a video from TMZ Sports that it is a good business decision for the UFC. For his full reactions watch the video below:
10 Jon Fitch, MMA Fighter
Many UFC fans will remember Jon Fitch as the former number-one contender for the UFC Welterweight division. The 36-year-old from San Jose, California has not fought in the UFC since 2013 and has compiled a 27-5-1 record during his career. Fitch currently fights for the World Series of Fighting and will be competing for the Welterweight Championship in that organization. Like most UFC fighters, they tend to look at the WWE as a fake scripted television program, and Fitch expressed his frustration with Punk in a recent interview with Complex Media. Fitch said, "If you made Brad Pitt the quarterback for the Patriots, you're probably going to get more ticket sales, and more people are going to watch the game, but, you know, what is that going to do for the sport?"
9 Ronda Rousey, UFC Fighter
The best women’s UFC fighter in the world was quite thrilled with the Punk news. Rousey has a very strong connection to the WWE, as she is not only a fan, but was rumored to be potentially joining the WWE in the future Although her love for professional wrestling may have swayed her views on Punk, she was nevertheless extremely excited about Punk coming into the octagon, tweeting “WHA?!?!? @CMPunk!!?!!!!?!! #cantwait"
If anyone knows about coming into the UFC with mixed views, it would definitely be Rousey, in regards to the women’s division.
8 Ken Shamrock, Former UFC Fighter
Shamrock is a UFC Hall of Famer and one of the most respected MMA fighters in the world. For an old school guy, it may seem like he would have been opposed to Punk, but he was quite happy about it and took a great interest in the idea of training the former WWE superstar. In an interview with Submission Radio, Shamrock said, "I would take that in a heartbeat, because I just know what I could do with him. I know exactly what it would take for him to get a win." You can see the entire interview here.
7 Ben Askren, UFC Fighter
Askren was quite vocal with his words about the CM Punk signing becoming very sarcastic on Twitter about the situation. The 30-year-old Askren comes from an Olympic wrestling background where he compiled an 153-8 career record at the University of Missouri so a lot of his frustration strings from that. Askren was very negative towards the move, tweeting “Guys I figured it out!!! Someone told me that Dana really believes that the WWE is real fighting.”
He then made sure to point out that he had no issue with CM Punk by tweeting: "Lol not mad at
@CMPunk at all! Gotta take the opportunities that arise. That being said the powers to be making hypocritical decisions."
6 Cathal Pendred, UFC Fighter
If there is one comment we should be interested in about Punk, it should be from Cathal Pendred, as he is rumored to be the first opponent for Punk. The 27-year-old was a member of Team Penn during season 19 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” so for someone who doesn’t have much experience in the UFC, he is still a known name. Pendred commented about Punk tweeting that “this punk is going to be ‘one and done’ in the UFC…It looks like I will be that one #JustWonTheLottery.”
Pendred didn’t bad mouth Punk like some others may have, but his reaction should still be recognized due to the fact that he may end up either being the first man to defeat Punk, or first to be defeated by him.
5 Jon Jones, UFC Fighter
The current UFC Light Heavyweight champion had some fun with the CM Punk news on Twitter after Punk announced his signing with the UFC. The 27-year-old from Rochester, New York has not lost a match since 2009, and continued his hot streak with this hilarious tweet, saying “BREAKING NEWS: I’m headlining wrestlemania 31.” Jones’ streak as UFC Champion is much longer than Punk’s last WWE championship reign of 434 days, so maybe Vince McMahon should seriously consider him as a headliner for WrestleMania, just to stick it to Punk one more time.
4 Russell Doane, MMA Fighter
One of the most ‘real’ reactions came from Russell Doane. It’s easy to see why so many MMA fighters responded negatively to the Punk signing, as the UFC gave Punk an opportunity purely on his name, and not because of his ability. MMA fighters take many years to get to the prestigious UFC, while Punk waltzed his way onto the main stage. Doane, the 28-year-old from Honolulu, Hawaii, just recently made it to the UFC, so his reaction was sarcastic and honest when he tweeted, “Punk will probably sit on a steel chair in between rounds. Look it took me 8 years to get here. Maybe the dude should have 1 fight first at least.” He doesn't make a bad point.
3 Cole Miller, MMA Fighter
With all the criticism being thrown at CM Punk, Cole Miller summed it up best for all of the CM Punk fans out there. Miller, a 30-year-old fighter from Augusta, Georgia, has had an impressive career thus far, compiling a career 21-8 record. Not many MMA fighters who responded to Punk knew much about him, and only knew that he was a former WWE wrestler who left the company ten months ago. However, Miller tried to shut up the harsh critics of Punk by tweeting, “I’ve trained with @CMPunk, he will beat guys in the @ufc. All the haters can suck it.”
2 Hector Urbina, UFC Fighter
Urbina is a proven MMA fighter, who's compiled a 17-8 career record. The 27-year-old has been fighting professionally since 2006 and most recently defeated Edgar Garcia at UFC 180. Urbina is also quite familiar with the WWE, reacting to the Punk news with one of the a hilarious tweet, saying “I’ll fight him. Hit him with the #stonecoldstunner @danawhite @UFCEspanol @UFCONFOX.” Not sure if the Stone Cold Stunner would work in the UFC, but it would be hilarious to see him try.
1 Jose Canseco, Former MLB Player
The former slugger and steroid enthusiast, Jose Cancesco was brilliant on Twitter after the announcement of Punk to the UFC. Cancesco has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, after shooting a part of his finger off and then having his finance break-up with him after he supposedly threatened to kill her. Cancesco kept his hot-streak going by responding to the Punk news on Twitter. He said “I can beat the crap out of @cmpunk. I am ready @ufc.” Although a Punk vs. Cancesco match would go against the entire purpose of what the UFC brand is supposed to be, please make this happen Dana White.