CM Punk Predictably Loses Second MMA Fight
In the aftermath of UFC 225, it is safe to say that the CM Punk experiment has to be over. The former WWE performer was given a second chance to compete in the UFC, and managed the only outcome worse than getting finished in 30 seconds again — he was utterly destroyed by a very green amateur fighter over the course of 3 rounds. The fight, such as it was, was difficult to watch, less on account of the brutality of the contest and more due to the fact that both CM Punk and Mike Jackson looked terrible. The quality level of this fight was on par with a bad preliminary bout in Legacy Fighting Alliance, or an equivalent regional promotion.
As lamentable as the fight was, I am just glad this whole charade is over. As I said when this fight was only a rumour (link), there was no way to frame this as anything but a waste of everyone's time. We were to find out if CM Punk had improved, and he was matched up against a professional photographer who was 0-1 himself, having also lost his pro debut to Mickey Gall. With all due respect to Mike Jackson, he was brought in because the matchmakers figured he was sufficiently bad that Punk might actually have a chance. They ended up being dead wrong, as Jackson looked anything but great, but still managed to handily beat up Punk and was never put in any danger.
What proved to be Jackson's undoing was his inability to finish the fight, which is reasonable given that he is not a full-time fighter and understandably didn't want to make any mistakes and get embarrassed by a debutant who has even less business in the cage than he did. Still, this resulted in a tepid fight — 3 whole rounds of tedium that no one enjoyed. I completely understand why Jackson was so cautious in his performance, but that doesn't change the fact that I lost 15 minutes if my life I will never get back, and in the process watched the worst MMA fight I can think of without going back to the pre-1998 archives. To his credit, Jackson at least looked comfortable in the cage, while Punk still appeared awkward and completely out of his element, despite 3 years of purported training with Duke Roufus and his team.
Following the pay-per-view, Dana White voiced his displeasure and frustration with how the fight turned out, blaming Mike Jackson for not finishing Punk and — in a typical fit of incoherent rage — asserted that Punk was "1-1 in [his] eyes." I'm not sure how that works, as Punk landed less-than half-a-dozen punches, none of which were good, and spent the vast majority of the fight either on his back, being punched in the face, or both. Jackson did what he had to do, to get the win, and if the UFC brass has a problem with that then that shows a poor understanding of the fight game. As bad as the fight was, it was exactly what you should expect from 2 fighters with no real pro experience or notable athletic gifts. Jackson was in a position where, had he lost, it would have been the equivalent of losing a no-hitter to a T-ball stand — his caution was understandable even if it made for a dull fight.
I expect this experiment to be over with now. I don't even know if Punk's appearance will translate to a much higher pay-per-view buyrate this time around. It really felt like his first appearance was so underwhelming that only a fraction of his fanbase would tune in for a second attempt. I'm not sure how much promotion was done for the event, and Punk didn't do too much of a media tour to promote his fight, so who knows what kind of effect he had on buys. For his previous appearance, Punk was paid $500,000, so if he ends up making a million dollars for a quick submission loss and taking a sloppy 3-round beating then he's done better than anyone else in the fight game — the sad reality of it all. And as for people offering up the usual chestnuts of how you "have to hand it to him for trying," well no I don't, actually. I never asked for this fight, in fact I specifically asked to not see this fight. There is no bravery in setting a challenge well above your skill level and then utterly failing at it, had Punk chosen to wrestle a bear and died no one would be saluting his courage — this is no different to me.
This fight was tedious, unneccessary and completely devoid of entertainment. The UFC should have known what they were going to get, as none of this was the least bit surprising to me. As per usual, Dana White is furious and the only person he should be mad at is himself. For a guy who lauds himself as having a superb eye for talent, I don't know what the Hell he expected from CM Punk, whose lack of aptitude couldn't even be disguised in heavily edited video montages. We are all poorer for having experienced that, I now wish to begin the process of purging CM Punk's MMA "career" from my memory. I wouldn't say this set MMA back so much as it reminded me just how unlike an actual sport it can be at times. No other sport would give such a huge platform to a rank amateur with no athletic merits. Sometimes these things happen in MMA...
Published: June 10th, 2018.