There's really no way to put a positive spin on the mixed martial arts (MMA) debut of former pro wrestling superstar Phil Brooks, operating under his old "CM Punk" moniker from the WWE days. Not only was he submitted by Mickey Gall at the UFC 203 pay-per-view (PPV) event last night (Sat., Sept. 10, 2016) in Cleveland, Ohio (results here), he was completely dominated.
The only significant strike Punk landed was when they touched gloves to kick off their welterweight contest.
There will be talk about his bravery for entering the cage against a younger, more experienced fighter, just as there will be pointing and laughing simply because one man dared to dream and fell flat on his face. Hey, this is the world of sports and that's what we do.
When the dust settled at the "Miocic vs. Overeem" event, the only people Punk had to answer to were his coaches, as well as his wife AJ Lee, herself a former WWE champion. Fortunately for him, both parties were willing to welcome him with open arms.
"You guys are all gonna make me cry, you bastards," an emotional Punk told the combat sports media at the UFC 203 post-fight press conference (watch it here). "She just said she was proud of me. I wanted to win, I wanted to perform. It didn't happen."
But at the end of the night, CM Punk still goes home to this pic.twitter.com/To2PBuJUeV— Seth F'N Rollins (@CM_PUNK_GUY) September 11, 2016
If at first you don't succeed ...
Following his first-round shellacking, Punk insisted he was not abandoning his dream of becoming a full-fledged MMA fighter, calling UFC 203 the second best night of his life, right behind the night he married Lee. But don't expect a sophomore effort until 2017.
Punk, 37, suffered extensive damage to his ear, while also receiving multiple stitches in his eye.
That doesn't take into account the uphill battle Punk will face in regards to improving his MMA skill set. He looked terribly undersized against Gall and had no answer for his opponent's takedown, or his smothering top control. UFC matchmakers will have to get creative to find a suitable opponent for Punk's second go-round.
One that is unlikely to make another PPV fight card.
UFC will undoubtedly reap financial rewards from curious onlookers, as well as WWE fans who were interested in watching the debut of Punk. But the PPV selling point over the past few months was the unknown. It was impossible to predict just what kind of fighter Punk was going to become.
Now we know.
Not that his debut was a complete waste, because it brought a significant amount of attention to a young fighter from New Jersey who was able to elevate his career with one fight. And Punk, without question, will be able to do the same for his next opponent, win or lose.
In the pro wrestling business it's called "putting someone over."
Punk made Gall look great and gave the foul-mouthed grappler a platform to call for bigger and better fights, namely a welterweight showdown against Sage Northcutt at some point in the very near future. Punk, meanwhile, will likely head to FOX Sports 1 or UFC Fight Pass when he's finally ready to return.
Let's just hope his second camp unfolds better than his first.