Ohio commission: CM Punk’s pro-wrestling experience helped him get UFC 203 fight license

Even though professional wrestling isn’t real fighting, it doesn’t necessarily count against you as an MMA fighter – or at least in the case of Phil “CM Punk” Brooks.

When Brooks (0-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) was administratively granted a license to fight Mickey Gall (2-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at Saturday’s UFC 203 event despite no professional or amateur MMA fights, Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato told MMAjunkie that Punk’s pro-wrestling experience actually helped him get a license.

“We felt this was no different than, basically, the Brock Lesnar situation, when they let him fight in the UFC,” Profato said of the former UFC heavyweight champion and NCAA Division I national wrestling champion. “We have confidence in the matchmaking of the UFC. It looks like a competitive fight.”

Profato added that Gall’s relative inexperience as a professional and Punk’s training at Roufusport in Milwaukee were factors in granting him a license – waiving a commission rule that requires prospective pros to have five amateur fights.

The commission head expressed great confidence in Punk’s work with Roufusport head coach Duke Roufus – though he admitted he hadn’t seen Punk train in person – and said the former pro-wrestling champ is capable of competing safely.

“If it was that weak a fight, it would have been one of the preliminary-card fights,” said Profato, who’s headed the Ohio commission for 12 years and until this past year was a prominent regulatory voice with the Association of Boxing Commissions, serving on the MMA rules and boxing database committees. “It’s a competitive fight. It may not be one of the greatest fights on the card, but it’s a competitive fight.”


via MMA Junkie

About Debbie Wiseman

Editor in chief, Conor McGregor fangirl, animal lover. Follow me on twitter @MMAPARADISE and @nevernotdebbie