“Maybe jealousy. I would guess that’s a pretty good answer. He’s been famous, he’s made a lot of money, he’s got a hot wife. There’s a lot of things about him that people would probably be jealous of. I would guess that’s it… If he’s not gonna fight, he fooled me. I’ve heard that and people have asked me that. He’s in the gym all the time and he’s training all the time, so that would sure be a lot of effort to put into a publicity stunt. You’d think if it was a publicity stunt he’d maybe show up once a week or once a month. For a while before he was injured, he was in there twice a day, every day… Success is a skill and the guy has been super successful in another field. So I don’t think there’s any reason why he can’t be successful at this one.”
-Ben Askren talks to MMAFighting.com about CM Punk and those who have criticized the former pro wrestler’s desire to move to MMA, and explains why he absolutely believes Punk will eventually step in the cage.
Penick’s Analysis: I’d say Askren represents a significant endorsement of Punk’s efforts, even more so than Duke Roufus as the coach with their team. Askren’s a no-bullshit kind of guy, and isn’t one to keep an opinion to himself if he’s got something to say. If Punk was treating it like a less than serious endeavor, I have no doubt Askren would have been among those most critical of him. Now, the injury issues have delayed things, but once he heals up I’d expect he’ll get back into the gym and work toward a 2016 debut.
I would add furthermore that, if I were a UFC fighter, I would be seriously looking at trying to get on the same card as CM Punk’s first fight. In all likelihood, that PPV is going to make money.
Yes: CM Punk got signed because of his name value. Is Dana and Lorenzo going to suddenly change their mind over it due to some people not liking it? Nope! So might it well try to make the best of the situation and make some extra money, in the process.
Whole things a joke. Punk may be a helluva nice guy and hard worker, but this signing is still just a slap in the face of brand credibility. Askren is supporting his friend and teammate, as expected, and he already has a pretty low opinion of their brand credibility anyway.
It’s no more a slap in the fact to credibility than all the people who will pay money to CM Punk fight, but not pay for Mighty Mouse. The fans are the problem, the UFC is just giving people what they want.