Even if you didn’t see the fight, by now you know CM Punk’s first foray into the mixed martial arts (MMA) world didn’t go as planned for the former WWE superstar, losing to Mickey Gall via first-round submission at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio.
But it wasn’t through a lack of preparation, as Punk had a world-class team behind him courtesy of Duke Roufus and Co., who helped him train for roughly a year and a half before he stepped into the Octagon.
Speaking of which, Duke was mic’d up for his celebrity pupil's debut and courtesy of BJPenn.com, we now know what the trainer told Punk -- real name Phil Brooks -- right before entering the cage.
"Stay calm, get the game face on right away. You got this. I am so proud of you. Now remember, keep moving forward. Let’s go for that right hand right away, put him on his ass. If it don’t work, put him on the cage. You got this."
That opening punch was intentional, but he whiffed and Punk immediately found himself on the wrong end of his opponent's takedown. Roufus tried his best to keep the UFC-newcomer calm before Mickey slipped in the fight-ending rear-naked choke.
Here’s what Duke had to say:
"Alright, alright. Good guard, breathe. Relax, relax. Good, tie him up. Tie him up, tie him up. Tie him up, Punk. There you go. Work the other hand. Get the underhook. Underhook, Punk. I need left underhook, Punk. Left underhook. Turn, turn, get that underhook, Punk. Turn into him, on your right hip. On your right hip. On your right hip. There you go. There you go, good. Fight the wrist. Hang in there, you are doing good. Breathe, inch by Inch, control the wrist. Control that wrist, you’re good. Good. There you go. You’re good. Fight the hand again. Turn, turn turn. Other way. You have to turn the other way son. Move, move. Come up, come up. Gotta roll, gotta roll. Gotta move. You’re good. Let’s make a move, make a move. Watch, there you go. Fight the choke, fight the choke. Fight. Peel the top hand. Good, good. Peel the top hand. Good. Peel the top hand, top hand Punk. Reach up, both hands, ahh..... that’s alright."
Immediately after, Duke was heard trying to encourage and console his dejected fighter.
"Hey, it’s alright buddy, You did good. It’s all, it’s all good, alright? It’s all good, man."
For his efforts, Punk earned a cool $500,000, almost as much as current heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, who banked $600,000 after he knocked out Alistair Overeem in the main event of the evening (video).