Saturday, April 21, 2018

If MMA had an @$$hole Hall of Fame, no small number of fans would nominate former WWE champion CM ‘Chick Magnet’ Punk. He signed with the UFC and then started to train in MMA, a notable reversal from the usual process in combat sports, or any sport, where you get good at the discipline prior to competing at the elite level. The result was predictable.

However, Phil Brooks took his beating and kept training. Now the UFC has matched him up with Legacy FC videographer and sometimes boxer and kickboxer Mike ‘The Truth’ Jackson at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago, Illinois. Jackson fought once before, vs. Mickey Gall, in the UFC, to make sure a brown belt in BJJ with a solid amateur career was worthy of fighting someone with no discernible skills like Punk.

Some people were offended that Brooks earned $500,000 to show nothing, while Joe Lauzon is getting $62,000 to show, after winning a record-setting 15 performance bonuses and fighting for over a dozen years. However, a thing is worth what someone will pay for it, and a lot of fans paid to watch Brooks fight.

During his latest Beyond the Fight podcast, former UFC title challenger and current Bellator MMA contender Chael Sonnen took an understanding position.

“I’ve always liked the CM Punk story, and I’ve always thought the story was mistold,” said Sonnen, as transcribed by Milan Ordoñez for “It was always kind of a perception that you were getting a big-named guy coming over, who was going to suck all the air out of the room. Just because he’s a big-named guy, he doesn’t deserve it.”

“In CM Punk’s case, he was willing to put it on the line. He committed fully and immersed himself to this goal in the sport of MMA. And that was a pretty cool and brave thing to do. He went out there, way over his head, and tried. And when it didn’t go his way, he said ‘I want to try again.’”

“He didn’t go back to the fake wrestling; he didn’t go do any of that stuff. He could have. He said, ‘I want to try that again,’ continued to immerse himself, continued to sacrifice, and now he’s gonna take off his shirt in his hometown and walk out there.”

“That is the story. It’s not the other way around that this big star came over and he’s leaving with all the money and all the attention and filling up the main card, taking spots and opportunities away from other people.”