UFC president Dana White appeared recently on ‘The Fight Life’ podcast, and responded to criticism that CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall on the main card of UFC 203 on Saturday night was a gimmick.
Punk, real name Phil Brooks, was a former WWE superstar who decided he wanted to try MMA. So he signed with the UFC, late in 2014. Then he started training in combat sports seriously for the first time. Now he has a fight.
White had no choice. Had he refused, Gall would have signed with Bellator MMA, which is fervently trying to find fighters that can sell PPVs. CM Punk is a proven PPV seller.
To his credit, White found a real fighter for Punk to test himself against in Mickey Gall. Gall is a brown belt in BJJ under David Adiv, and went 2-0 as an amateur. Then he won his pro debut vs. Ron Templeton at Dead Serious MMA 17, where he was spotted by White. Then he won his UFC debut, presumably to see if he could handle big crowd jitters.
Gall trains at Miller Brothers MMA, Gracie New Jersey Jiu-Jitsu Academy, and American Top Team Allentown. He’s a dangerous dude.
“I don’t think there’s any defending the matchup,” said White, as transcribed by Lewis Mckeever for BE. “I’m friends with CM Punk. It’s been his dream to fight in the UFC forever. He wanted to do it, so I gave him the opportunity. The thing is, when we do fights like this, there’s no gimmick fight.”
“He’s fighting a real guy. He’s been training hard for a year and a half with Duke Roufus, one of the most respected guys in the business, and they all respect how hard this guy’s been working. So there’s no gimmick, this is like err, this is do or die. We throw these guys to the wolves, man.”