SUNDAY NEWS DIGEST: What Punk told Gall after their fight, what Gall told Punk during weigh-ins, plus much more UFC 203 follow-up

By Mike Hiscoe, MMATorch contributor

Mickey Gall (photo credit John David Mercer © USA Today Sports)


UFC 203 left us with no shortage of talking points, but one bit of conversation we weren’t immediately privy to was the conversation in the cage between Mickey Gall and C.M. Punk after their fight on pay-per-view.

At last night’s post-fight press conference, Gall shared with the media what Punk told him after Gall submitted Punk in the former pro-wrestler’s first MMA fight.

“He said, ‘Always feel you belong,’” Gall said. In interviews leading up to the fight, Gall had expressed feelings of unworthiness and guilt with being placed third from the top of the card and being featured on the event poster and marketing materials. “I was pretty vocal in feeling that I didn’t belong on the UFC poster. Urijah Faber and Jimmie Rivera fought before me. Those are two veterans. I’m an MMA purist. I respect the veterans of the game and they’re more deserving of the spot.”

Punk, when explaining the advice from his perspective, was very pointed and perhaps offered a glimpse at how he was approaching his positioning himself. “Even if you think you don’t deserve to be on the main card, you’re on the main card. Just shut the f— up and fake it till you make it. Don’t sell yourself short,” he said of Gall.

Mickey Gall defeated Punk by rear naked choke at 2:15 of the first round. It was the first pay-per-view fight for Gall and the first MMA fight ever for Punk. Check out last night’s press conference below.

Hiscoe’s Analysis: This fight absolutely belonged on the main card, I think most reasonable people understand that. Gall is young and clearly has a lot of respect for the sport and was likely trying to be humble going into this fight. Gall asked for the fight so I think he’s aware of the opportunity it presented him and he also called out Sage Northcutt after his win, so he’s more aware of how the game works than he was letting on in his post-fight interviews. It was Punk not playing the game in the build up to this fight that was more frustrating.

As for the fight itself, I can’t remember the last time I had such an adrenaline rush waiting for a fight to begin. Everything from the walk-ins to the crowd reaction felt like a major league, big fight main event. Once Gall got Punk to the ground, all that went up in smoke and it was all academic from there.

As Joe Rogan said on the broadcast, Punk did everything right in getting ready for this fight. I don’t know if it’s so much that he needed more time to train or he started too late as much as he may just not have the aptitude to be a mixed martial artist. You can be taught by the best teachers in the world how to do many things, but that doesn’t mean that anyone can be taught how to be very good or even competent at it if you don’t have the natural skills.

I doubt we see Punk again in UFC and that’s probably for the best for the sake of his own and the UFC’s credibility. I’d encourage him to keep trying to fight outside of UFC, I think he’d win over some of the MMA diehards that haven’t accepted him if he did.

In hindsight, I don’t think UFC wanted him to be successful here. If they did, they could have found an easier fight for him. Gall was the best “bad” fighter they could find and is someone they likely think can become a star off the back of this win. A fight with Northcutt would be interesting to see where both men stand as Northcutt has been protected to an extent and Gall has been handfed easy wins to this point.


-Stipe Miocic vs. Alistair Overeem won fight of the night last night and performance bonuses went to Jessica Andrade and Yancy Medeiros for their wins over Joanne Calderwood and Sean Spencer respectively. All four fighters receive $50,000 bonuses.

-After taking a finger to the eye in his win over Urijah Faber last night, Jimmie Rivera revealed to MMA Fighting that he has a crack behind his retina on his right eye.

-Fabricio Werdum will not be disciplined after trying to kick Travis Browne coach Edmond Tarverdyan as the decision was about to be announced last night. At the post fight press conference, Werdum said that Tarverdyan was yelling profanities at him.

-Werdum also shared that he went into the fight with Travis Browne with a fractured foot.

-Joe Rogan is advocating to UFC, including a post on Twitter, to stop interviewing fighters after they have been knocked out after Alistair Overeem claimed in his post-fight interview that he felt Miocic tap out to a guillotine attempt. Rogan then asked the truck to replay the sequence and no tap could be seen.

-C.M. Punk said at the post-fight press conference that he plans to continue fighting but is unsure of his future with UFC specifically.

-Mickey Gall shared what he said to Punk after Punk wouldn’t shake hands at the weigh-ins Friday night. “When he didn’t shake my hand and he was giving me that hard look, I said, ‘You’re an actor. You’re still acting. We’re fighting tomorrow. You know what’s going to happen. I’m going to hurt you.’ And then he kept staring at me as he walked off. I said, ‘Keep looking at me.’ That’s all.”

-Tickets for UFC 204 in Manchester sold out in 6 minutes so the late start time was not a deterrent at all.

(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)

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