Former WWE announcer Jim Ross has a little message for the mixed martial arts (MMA) fans who are up in arms over the recent announcement that former pro wrestler Phil Brooks, better known by his stage name "CM Punk," was signed to a multi-fight contract by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
Get back in your pen, little piggy.
The fact that most of the combat sports universe has been talking about Punk -- and more importantly UFC -- is a testament to the brand power of both athlete and promotion. When they go full Wonder Twins and form a legitimate pay-per-view (PPV) fight, it will serve as one of many victories for the "brilliant promotional strategist" named Dana White.
Ross breaks it down for FOX Sports:
"CM Punk has already won in the UFC in multiple ways, and he has yet to break a sweat. This is another testament to the brilliant promotional strategist that is UFC President Dana White. It's a good thing that those who are squealing like a pig stuck under a gate aren't running the show or handling the marketing of an MMA entity. For White, signing Punk is a no-lose situation. Punk brings with him immense name identity globally via WWE, and his main event visibility there for the past several years. When one's former company -- WWE -- is in more than 150 countries in multiple languages, then one of their top and most popular stars is going to be known around the world, which makes Punk a highly marketable fighter -- at worst, one time. Dana White's signing of Punk was victory No. 1 for the UFC and for Punk, who likely should be able to use his CM Punk ring name because of prior usage before he debuted in WWE. Without question, Punk's first fight -- and it should be on pay-per-view -- will be a moneymaker. Curiosity will fuel fans to buy it, many for the first time. Big win No. 3. If Punk never wins a UFC fight -- and I'm not predicting that -- the signing of Punk by White is that of a brilliant promoter who can create a journey that both the fans of Punk -- and those who aren't -- can travel and one in which they can both emotionally invest."
If you love the decision -- or hate it -- it's a win either way, so long as you're talking about it.
Brooks, 36, has trained in Kenpo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but has no actual fight experience and has yet to find a camp to call home. In addition, his intended weight class in still up in the air, though perhaps Chael Sonnen knows something we don't, based on this inside information.
That said ... is CM Punk UFC's new Scrappy?