Seemingly every prominent figure with a connection to pro wrestling or MMA has offered an opinion on C.M. Punk’s decisive loss to Mickey Gall in Punk’s MMA debut fight Saturday night at UFC 203.
Many wrestlers have expressed respect for Punk going through the process just to make an MMA fight, while others have focused on Punk achieving a dream.
The reality of the situation is Punk is 37 years-old, he battled through two major injuries during his MMA training, he has tons of miles on his body from wrestling a physical style, and he had to cut so much weight in a short period of time that he looked unhealthy on Saturday night.
Plus, he was fighting someone who had professional fighting experience and knew what to expect once locked inside the cage. Punk said he wanted to win, but his big smile on the way to cage suggested he was just happy to be there.
“Like and respect are two different things. I admire him for having the courage to fight a more experienced fighter,” Randy Orton tweeted about Punk’s fight in a late-night Q&A Monday night.
Kevin Nash, who worked with Punk five years ago on WWE TV, said it’s a different animal getting inside a cage. Like Orton, he questioned whether Punk should have fought someone with experience.
“It didn’t look like it went very well for him. It’s his decision (on whether he should have fought). 37 seems like it’s pretty late to get in the fight game. … 0-1. I guess he’s not Best in the World anymore,” Nash deadpanned to U.K. outlet Notts TV in a sit-down interview. “What we do is we can put people in places. What he did was basically ask for an ass-beating. So it’s different.”
“It’s hard,” Daniel Bryan said to PhillyVoice.com about what Punk went through to make it to a fight. “At that age, and I know at my age and how many injuries I have, just getting up out of bed every morning, you know, for the most part, I feel really good. But then to get up and go train with killers – that camp is a great camp. And so you go in there and train with great guys and getting beat up every day. It’s tough. That’s the job. The job is getting beat up every day. And right towards the fight, then you have to lose a bunch of weight. So, it’s like, ‘Okay I get beat up every day, now go lose 15 pounds. Oh, just like that? Oh, Okay.’”
“It’s crazy and it’s awesome and he may have lost and he may have gotten beat up, but hey, he tried it. How many people would be afraid because of their ego to not even put themselves out there like that? I like to train jiu jitsu and I like to muay thai and the number of people who train all the time but won’t put themselves out there to even do like a tournament and nobody knows who they are. The ego part of you that says, ‘Well, if I go and I do it and I lose, what does that mean?’ Well, [Punk] went out and did it, right? He’s a huge public figure. I have the utmost respect for him trying to go do it.”