Whether you think it’s a good idea or a bad idea for CM Punk to be trying to make his mark in UFC probably, at least partially, revolves around the fact that he is basically a completely untrained 37-year-old trying to break into a sport full of professionals who have been training in that particular discipline for their entire lives. Even if he works really hard, as he clearly has, the odds of success are not in his favor, and he may ultimately end up horribly outmatched. It turns out, the Ohio Athletic Commission, which is overseeing UFC 203, would normally agree with that sentiment, and in fact, they actually have a rule that states that any fighter must have a winning amateur record consisting of at least five fights before they will sanction a professional match. In case you didn’t know, CM Punk has never competed any MMA discipline as either an amateur or a professional, and thus would not qualify. In fact, Punk’s opponent, Mickey Gall, would also fall under this ruling, as he only has a 3-0 record as an amateur (and is 2-0 as a pro), although obviously he has slightly more wiggle room than Punk.
However, the rule can and has been waived by the OAC’s executive director, basically saying that firstly, UFC has assured them that things will be okay and are fully confident that Punk will not be seriously hurt as a result of his inexperience, and secondly, Punk’s history as a pro wrestler means he technically has had some form of applicable experience that allows the rule to be waived. Here is a statement from the director on the ruling:
“CM Punk has a wrestling background similar to Brock Lesner being permitted to fight in the past…There was also confidence in the matchmaker from the UFC and the past bouts he has submitted in previous UFC events in Ohio.”
Of course, Lesnar was actually an amateur wrestler before he became a WWE Superstar, but it’s really the second part which is more important, as UFC is basically being allowed to do this due to their consistency in following the rules in the past. Of course, that also means if this turns into a disaster, UFC will shoulder the blame.