On a media blitz in New York City Thursday, professional wrestling's CM Punk began opening up a bit more on the early conversations held with UFC president Dana White prior to his joining the promotion earlier in December.
The WWE star has taken a mountain of flak for his choice to cannonball into MMA's grandest stage at 36 with no resume to speak of, but Punk says he was willing to endure the entry level tournament that is 'The Ultimate Fighter.'
"It was very much a kind of free flowing conversation sort of like, 'Well if you're interested in doing this we're interested in having you on board,' so the kind of things I talked about in that conversation were, well, 'Would you guys want me in 'The Ultimate Fighter' house? Is that the best way? Or is there another way that's best to introduce the world to this idea?'" Punk told Jim Rome on Thursday (via FOX Sports).
Punk had mentioned the possibility of appearing on the UFC reality show in January in an interview with Ariel Helwani, but didn't sound incredibly enthused.
"Not tooting my own horn and I'm saying that I'm some sort of megastar or anything," Punk said earlier this year. "But do you put CM Punk [on TUF]?"
Thursday, Punk said he even warned UFC brass about the inevitable backlash of his signing.
"I said, 'Listen guys, there's going to be a lot of people who are going to be mad at you.' Obviously they took that into consideration, but the idea -- just as my personality is -- we don't really care what other people think of ourselves, so it's their company. They presented me with a tremendous opportunity. I feel I would have been foolish if I would have left it on the table."
In the comfort of a few like-minded professional wrestling fans, Punk explained that the sport's complaining purists don't even really have an argument to stand on.
"I understand that fans and fighters alike will look at me and have that viewpoint, so I'm very, like, 'OK, I understand totally, because Jose Canseco wants to fight me," Punk told Opie Radio on SiriusXM. "I think I'm going to bring eyes to the product and I think there's going to be those MMA purists who are like, 'Go back to phony wrestling,' not understanding that MMA actually evolved from pro wrestling."
It wasn't until he appeared on TSN's 'Off The Record' with Michael Landsberg that Punk truly went on the defensive.
After lampooning Punk in an animated roll-in segment, as per usual on OTR, Landsberg expressed his belief that White is protecting him by planning to book him against a likewise questionable talent, rather than a UFC caliber fighter.
"No,' replied Punk. "We never had a conversation about who I would fight or what their experience level would be so that was Dana talking."
Landsberg pressed on by asking if Punk would accept a bout with someone with as much UFC experience as Nate Diaz, who voiced his concern over the signing prior to his bout with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 13.
Punk responded by saying he'd fight anyone if it paid well enough, something he's maintained isn't a motivating factor for starting his fight career.
"Look, this is where things will get said out of context," said Punk. "I don't think Nate called me out. What Nate did was express his opinion on the UFC signing me and me fighting in the UFC. I respect his opinion. I'm still a Nate Diaz fan. I watched him fight last Saturday and I'll watch him the next time he fights.
"Who I fight isn't 100 percent up to me. I don't think it's 100 percent up to any fighter. That's what the [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva's of the world are for. Would I fight Nate Diaz? This is where he takes it out of context. Yea, I would fight anybody given the proper time to prepare for it. Would that be a wise decision at this juncture in my career? Probably not. But I would also fight Anderson Silva tomorrow if you paid me the correct amount of money to do so."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
'Every fight that we do isn't going to be everybody's thing.' UFC president Dana White defends his decision to bring in professional wrestler CM Punk, while responding to one of the signing's biggest critics in Ben Askren.
Numbers. Dave Meltzer explains how strong PPV buy rates for UFC 181 could be costing Rory MacDonald his welterweight title shot. 'As a hardcore fan, I'd have liked to have seen MacDonald get the shot, but right now, Hendricks is the bigger name of the two.'
Free Fight: Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller.
The complete Cormier interview from UFC Tonight.
Conor McGregor talking about moving to lightweight and fighting Jose Aldo.
Luke Thomas Is Pissed, the year of sports in 2014 edition:
CB Dollaway is comfortable as the underdog against Lyoto Machida.
Wanderlei Silva talks UFC lawsuit, Reekbok deal, CM Punk and more.
Jon Jones gets tested.
The Nevada State athletic commission just stopped by my house and hit me with that random.. Only thing I'm on is that #PHW pure hard work! They're probably wondering how my chicken legs are so strong. I've had a few @muscletech products but that's all legal :)
Anthony Johnson (@Anthony_Rumble) December 18, 2014
@danawhite you could at least put some spin on your stories,not just tell blatant lies. The people are stupid, they don't believe you!!!— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) December 18, 2014
Lance Palmer (@LancePalmer) December 18, 2014
If no one fights back nothing will change. We are fighters are we not?! Stand up and act like it. Refuse to be taken advantage of!— Conor Heun (@ConorHeun) December 19, 2014
I can honestly say that I saw this coming a while back. Back in 2011 when the UFC sent us fighters, letters to... http://t.co/xG8vuUNaAQ— Pablo Garza MMA (@PabloGarzaMMA) December 15, 2014
A few months ago had a conversation with a fan who asked why i agreed with Wands UFC bow up. Looks like a was on... http://t.co/aNxoR0PKfZ— Pablo Garza MMA (@PabloGarzaMMA) December 18, 2014
Father time got another one.
I'm done fighting I would call it retiring but I never made no money so yea I quit.— . (@TheCodyMcKenzie) December 18, 2014
Black Belt! Yahoo! Thank you Prof Paul Abel - Gracie Humaita pic.twitter.com/meVB6ns6uW— Jason Saggo (@jasonsaggo) December 19, 2014
Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 19, 2014
Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) December 19, 2014
Dinner with one of the best ever.russia what a nice place.... pic.twitter.com/QwS2i9vogr— Mike kyle DJ MAK (@Mak4afight) December 19, 2014
Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) December 18, 2014
This Week in Struggle.
Roxanne Modafferi (@Roxyfighter) December 18, 2014
It just makes my blood boil knowing that I'll be in camp most likely when French toast crunch makes its way back #cerealkiller— Sergio Pettis (@sergiopettis) December 18, 2014
Muffled a sneeze on the plane & a flight attendant told me to quit it or I would pop my eyeball out & go blind. It's been a weird week, guys— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) December 14, 2014
I can always count on social media for free-bad advice— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) December 18, 2014
Wisdom tooth is killing me!— Erik Jon Koch (@NEWBREED04) December 18, 2014
Have u ever been to a nasty Chinese restaurant?— Clint Hester (@clinthester) December 18, 2014
Ben Brewer (@TheBenBrewer) December 17, 2014
Took an unintentional nut shot today, still feeling it a little. I could just imagine the hurt locker Id be in if not wearing @diamondmma— Brad Tavares (@BradTavares) December 17, 2014
Am I the only one that has weeks where I'm like damn I'm ugly af— Raquel Pa'aluhi (@RaquelPaaluhi) December 18, 2014
Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) December 17, 2014
Who wants to help me destroy some jerk troll on Facebook?— Mitch Clarke (@MitchClarkeMMA) December 17, 2014
Some lazy ass has been laying on their horn outside of a neighbors house for 30mins! Walk to the door b4 I spray your dumbass with the hose!— Steve Carl (@Steve_Carl) December 17, 2014
Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) December 16, 2014
Nothing like back to real life. Daycare, work, treatment, etc... pic.twitter.com/yRXQhOAAnZ— Joe Ellenberger (@JoeEllenberger) December 15, 2014
Joanna Jedrzejczyk (@joannamma) December 17, 2014
Drinking gallon and half of water today plus traveling will be a fight itself lol— Michael (@TeamRocBiggie) December 15, 2014
Splashed water on my grey joggers and now it looks like I pissed myself.— Danny Castillo (@lastcall155) December 14, 2014
I worked with a nutritionist twice in my UFC career in attempts to get peak performances & both were fails...— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 17, 2014
Romero fight my nutritionist asked me to fly them to event. I agreed and they told me the week of they weren't coming...— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 17, 2014
Herman fight a nutritionist gave me some funky dinner food for breakfast at 8am. I napped for 3 hours and work up with my head spinning...— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) December 17, 2014
[wakes up] [checks twitter] [sees random guy telling me to fuck off] [calls mom to tell her I made it] pic.twitter.com/99CYAw3KyH— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) December 16, 2014
Announced yesterday (Dec. 18 2014)
Sam Alvey vs. Cezar Ferreira at UFC Fight Night: Porto Alegre
Rustam Khabilov vs. Adriano Martins at UFC Fight Night: Porto Alegre
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via jaywolf1.
This Friday, while the UFC is dealing with a lawsuit (burn! lol) ONEFC will be making history by breaking into mainland China with a card that includes not one, but TWO samenight PRIDEstyle Grand Prix! Awesome...
This event will be available for everyone to watch in HD for only $10 on ONEFC's website, and that includes FULL REPLAY so you don't have to pull an all night'r to watch! All you have to do is avoid internet spoilers till you get off work and press play! How cool is that!? All fans plz consider buying it and help support my fav org! Thanks!
Now yes there are some other good fighters on the card: Ji, Sexton, Pang, etc....
...but y'all know me and what I'm about! TOURNAMENTS BABY!!! Especially the EPIC PRIDEstyle GrandPrix!
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @SaintMMA and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.