CM Punk returns to UFC (not WWE) as a fan and 'friend' of Dana White

You won't see him attending any live WWE events after walking out on professional wrestling earlier this year, but that hasn't stopped CM Punk from showing his love for mixed martial arts (MMA).

Earlier this year, professional wrestler Phil Brooks, who operates under the WWE moniker "CM Punk," said he would be open to trying out for The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), the combat sports reality show that serves as a proving ground for up-and-coming fighters (watch the video here).

Not long after, he quit his job at WWE.

Naturally, that was all it took for some mixed martial arts (MMA) fans to connect some admittedly distant dots and start speculating about Brooks' future in combat sports. Those rumors reached a fevered pitch at the UFC 170 pay-per-view (PPV) event (results) when "Punk" was filmed sitting cageside next to UFC President Dana White.

Move along folks, nothing to see here.

"He is a friend and a fan, White told TMZ. "We have literally never talked about wrestling or fighting or anything else work related since I've known him."

Sorry, Mr. Coleman.

Brooks is an avid jiu-jitsu practitioner under the Gracie family (pic) and no stranger to live UFC events. At one point, he was asked to walk Chael Sonnen to the Octagon when "The American Gangster" was slated to do battle in "Punk's" hometown of Chicago, Illinois.

Unfortunately -- or fortunately, depending on your taste -- WWE CEO Vince McMahon put the kibosh on those plans.

That leaves us right where we started -- which is nowhere -- something White already confirmed last month when Brooks first jumped ship. It seems "Punk" is just like every other fight fan when it comes to the excitement of a live UFC event.

He just gets better seats than you.

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