Former WWE wrestler CM Punk was going to walk Chael Sonnen to the Octagon for the UFC on FOX 2 event, which took place inside the United Center in Punk's hometown of Chicago, Illinois, back on Jan. 28, 2012. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Pressidnet Dana White had no problem with it.
Vince McMahon did.
The WWE chairman put the kibosh on his champion's affiliation with mixed martial arts (MMA), because McMahon was certain someone was going to die inside the Octagon, according to comments Punk made on the Art of Wrestling podcast (transcribed by Cageside Seats):
"I'll give you another example: 'Hey, my friend Chael (Sonnen) is fighting in Chicago for UFC and I already talked to them and they're totally cool with the idea, I'm going to walk him to the Octagon. Tomorrow is the Royal Rumble so it will get some last minute buys and whether Chael wins or loses, no offense to Chael, nobody is going to be talking about him, they're going to be talking about the WWE champion walking him to the Octagon. 'Oh my god, Phil, no, we can't do that. That's barbaric. Somebody is going to die!' And then I had to remind him, well, you know, 'I don't know if you remember Owen Hart or not, you know, cause he sort of died in your ring.' He said somebody is going to die in the Octagon. I just think that was his... he was distancing himself from such a horrible, barbaric product. And I reminded him how horrible and barbaric pro wrestling is, you know. And then he was also like 'Did you know that they're going to have women fight in the Octagon soon?' And I was like 'yeah, and it's the fucking coolest thing in the world and it's going to be the hottest fucking thing, you'll see.'"
UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey would make her Octagon debut just over a year later.
What's interesting about McMahon's critique is that it came not long after he asked to fight White at WrestleMania, or perhaps a UFC pay-per-view (PPV) event of ZUFFA's choosing (more on that crazy request here). Since he was 67 at the time, I can understand his concern about someone keeling over inside the cage.
It probably would have been him.