So, what does it take to go pro?
More specifically, how does a mixed martial arts (MMA) "fighter" with zero professional fights get licensed to compete in Ohio?
Normally, they don't.
The requirement for "The Buckeye State" is a minimum of five amateur contests with a winning record. Under normal circumstances, that would disqualify CM Punk, who is scheduled to make his pro debut on the UFC 203 pay-per-view (PPV) main card this Saturday night (Sept. 10, 2016) in Cleveland.
But this is Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), where loopholes are just a phone call away.
"CM Punk has a wrestling background similar to Brock Lesnar being permitted to fight in the past," Bernie Profato, Executive Director of the Ohio Athletic Commission, told MMA Fighting. "There was also confidence in the matchmaker from the UFC and the past bouts he has submitted in previous UFC events in Ohio."
Lesnar, an NCAA Division-1 National Wrestling Champion, was 1-0 when he made his UFC debut back in 2008.
Like Lesnar, Punk will make his transition to combat sports after a lengthy career in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). Opposing him is regional up-and-comer Mickey Gall, 2-0 as a pro and 2-0 as an amateur, with three of his four wins coming by way of submission.
For a closer look at their upcoming showdown click here.