CM Punk might be fighting illegally in Ohio at UFC 203. According to the laws of the Ohio Athletic Commission (OAC) a “mixed martial arts fighter will be required to have a minimum of five recorded amateur bouts with a winning record prior to being permitted as a professional mixed martial arts fighter.”
Punk’s record? Zero.
But thankfully, a technicality helped the former wrestling star circumnavigate this important law. OAC executive director Bernie Profato expounded on Punk’s situation, comparing it to another WWE star who ventured into MMA, Brock Lesnar.
“We felt this was no different than, basically, the Brock Lesnar situation, when they let him fight in the UFC,” Profato said in an interview with MMAjunkie. “We have confidence in the matchmaking of the UFC. It looks like a competitive fight.”
Typically, MMA fighters need to appeal to the executive director’s office to secure a license, if they do not meet the required five amateur bouts. In the case of CM Punk, however, Profato decided that there was no need for such a request, all thanks to Punk’s tenure with the WWE.
“The five-fight rule, we’ve waived it a number of times, especially for Ohio State wrestlers,” Profato elaborated. “We used the Lesnar situation as an example to approve it. When (professional wrestlers) get that high, they have a massive training (facility). We’ve checked that out with the WWE. They’re watched in there. They probably train, in some cases, even harder than some of the UFC fighters.”
On the other hand, Punk’s opponent, Mickey Gall, has an amateur record of 2-0, but also adds a professional MMA record of 2-0, both with the UFC.
At the end of it all, Punk’s professional wrestling days, has saved him the trouble of a legal dispute with the OAC, but will it save him from the embarrassment of defeat?
Watch him face the odds at UFC 203 on September 10.
Photo Courtesy: Ed Webster/ Flickr