Former WWE World Champion CM Punk shocked everyone by showing up at a UFC event in 2014 and announcing he would be embarking on an MMA career. Since then, he’s only fought once — a lopsided loss to a relatively inexperienced Mickey Gall.
He kept training though, and Punk will finally get another crack at picking up a UFC win when he takes on Mike Jackson at UFC 225 in June, in his hometown of Chicago. The fight order was recently announced, and Punk is taking a bit of heat for being on the main PPV card while former Women’s Bantamweight champ Holly Holm is stuck headlining the free prelims.
Punk vs. Jackson will be the first fight on the main PPV card, and some fans took to Twitter to back the decision.
It's a damn shame that @CMPunk keeps getting put on cards when they're is such an abundance of more deserving and qualified fighters available that would kill for the chance
— James Wrye (@JWrye78) May 13, 2018
Punk was defended by UFC legend Mark Coleman, who reminded people that the UFC is still in the business of trading entertainment for money, and people want to pay to watch Punk.
Sometimes u have to make exceptions.$ I'm excited for this fight . I wish @CMPunk the best! But I understand.
— Mark Coleman (@HammerHouseMMA) May 14, 2018
While it’s nice to have a UFC Hall of Famer defend you from social media trolls, Punk himself would later chime in on the debate. He admitted that his MMA track record doesn’t belong on PPV, and would rather be the Fight Pass (online streaming only — non-televised) version of the card if he had a choice.
I understand too. If it was up to me, I'd be first fight on fight pass. Don't matter to me. Fans like to be outraged by stuff that doesn't matter. (Appreciate the support Mr. Coleman!!!!! You're truly the man)
— Coach (@CMPunk) May 14, 2018
Punk comes from the world of sports entertainment, and understands better than most that drawing power is sometimes more important than technical ability. He also made $500,000 for his first fight, so he is already well aware that his name alone will attract casual viewers. The UFC knows it too.