This Saturday, former WWE star CM Punk will make his long-awaited jump to MMA. He’ll be taking on dangerous, 24-year-old prospect Mickey Gall on the main card of UFC 203, which will emanate from Cleveland, Ohio’s Quicken Loans Arena.
In advance of his UFC debut, Punk finds the odds stacked against him, as bookmakers have pegged him as a sizeable underdog.
The reasons for the wrestler’s underdog status are quite simple. First and foremost is the fact that he had no real martial arts background prior to signing the UFC – no collegiate wrestling pedigree, no striking experience, certainly no previous MMA bouts. His opponent, meanwhile, is a well-versed martial artist with tremendous grappling, strong striking skills, and MMA experience at the amateur and pro level.
Given this, few people are expecting much from Punk this Saturday. In fact, the widespread opinion seems to be that Punk will be quickly and violently taken care of by his young foe.
This begs the question: if the job of state athletic commissions is to protect fighters – to keep them out of harm’s way and promote fair match-making – how the hell was this fight sanctioned?
Well, according to British Columbia based litigation lawyer and combat sports law consultant Erik Magraken, the creation of this bout might have taken some sweet-talking by the UFC.
As Magraken points out on his website, The Ohio Athletic Commission states that:
A mixed martial arts fighter will be required to have a minimum of five recorded amateur bouts with a winning record prior to being permitted to compete as a professional mixed martial arts fighter [in Ohio]. They may appeal to the executive director or Ohio athletic commission to have this waived.
Given that Punk lacks not only a winning amateur record, but an amateur record outright, this implies the UFC made the aforementioned appeal to the executive director or Ohio athletic commission. Otherwise, the pro wrestler wouldn’t have been granted a license.
Yes, Punk’s chances this Saturday are so slim that it’s possible the Ohio Athletic Commission could have opted not to sanction it at all. Then again, it’s the ever-present possibility of the upset that makes MMA so exciting!
Do you give CM Punk any chance against Mickey Gall this Saturday? Sound off, PENN nation!