Phil “CM Punk” Brooks didn’t fare too well in his MMA debut. Despite over a year of hype and constant training, a then-37-years-old Punk was submitted in just a couple of minutes by youngster Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in September 2016. It was disappointing for Punk and borderline embarrassing for the UFC.
Punk’s name definitely brought in more eyeballs though, as the buyrate for UFC 203 shot up to close to 450,000, which is roughly double the 200,000-250,000 that your average run of the mill UFC event will sell. It leads to an interesting question — will the UFC offer Punk another chance?
The former WWE champion is technically still under contract with the UFC, but has mostly kept his head down since losing his debut fight. He was hopeful that the UFC would offer him another fight, but nothing has materialized so far. At least one former UFC champion is cheering for Punk to get a second crack at his MMA dream, as heavyweight Josh Barnett (who is a noted pro wrestling fan) told Wrestling Inc. that he wants to see Punk back in the octagon.
“Well, I think they invested all this time and effort and energy into him, then, absolutely, they should give him another fight.” Barnett continued, “I don’t know what kind of contract he has, but usually, it’s a multi-fight deal. He was getting into some pretty deep water to begin with, but I don’t think he was mistaken in that, in any sense of the word. I think that he knew what a difficult climb this was going to be. But kudos to him to step forward and do it anyways.
“I think people would be more interested [in the second fight] to see a back and forth, see a match that was hotly contested, but it’s really up to them. It’s a lot to ask a company like the UFC to do such a thing, but it’s within their power.”
The company line is usually to try and avoid putting on “sideshow matches,” however they have made exceptions for the likes of Kimbo Slice and the time Randy Couture fought has-been boxer James Toney. After all, good business is good business and fans have already proven they want to watch Punk try his luck in a real fight. We would expect Dana White and the UFC to agree.