CM Punk will prepare for his MMA career close to home.
The former WWE superstar has decided on Roufusport as the gym he will train at to get ready for his first UFC fight, according to UFC president Dana White. The camp is in Milwaukee, less than 100 miles and only about a 90-minute drive from Punk's Chicago home.
"He's now picked a training camp," White said Tuesday night on FOX Sports Live. "I'm pretty sure he's going to be training with Anthony Pettis, the 155-pound champion and his team. We're just going to see how he progresses in training and then we'll go from there."
White also said that there was no opponent yet in mind for CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, and it's still up in the air when he will make his UFC debut. It's likely that it won't happen in the first half of 2015. Though he has trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for years under Rener Gracie and has kempo experience, Punk has never even had an amateur MMA fight.
Roufusport's credentials are indisputable when it comes to producing high-quality fighters. Head coach Duke Roufus is an accomplished kickboxer and his star pupil Pettis is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Then there's Ben Askren, the ONE FC welterweight champion and one of the best pure wrestlers in all of MMA. With Pettis' striking background and Askren's wrestling tutelage, CM Punk will likely be in good hands.
However, Roufusport has come under fire in recent months as a gym that fosters bullying behavior. UFC women's strawweight fighter Rose Namajunas, her boyfriend Pat Barry, a former UFC fighter, and another former UFC fighter Eric Schafer have all spoken out about disturbing practices at the gym, at least when they were there years ago. Roufus has denied their stories and said, while it can be a stern place, Roufusport has evolved.
The allegations came after a Milwaukee Journal Sentinal investigative report exposed apparent negligence in the death of Roufusport kickboxer Dennis Munson Jr. after an amateur bout in March. Referees, doctors and cornermen all let Munson continue in his fight despite signs of head trauma.
CM Punk has said in interviews that one of the important things about the gym he chooses is that it won't contain fighters who will actively be trying to hurt him. If he has picked Roufusport like White said, he is surely confident something like that won't be a problem there.