If you watched ESPN at any point on Wednesday, chances are you caught at least a glimpse of recent UFC signee CM Punk making the rounds at the Bristol, Conn., sports network.
Such is life these days for the polarizing new addition to the Las Vegas-based promotion’s roster. Since his signing was announced at UFC 181, Punk has been in high demand. With that attention comes added scrutiny, and Punk’s lack of true combat sports experience has been well-documented in recent days.
While his overall striking and jiu-jitsu credentials may be sorely lacking, Punk is not completely new to a non-scripted fight. During an interview on ESPN’s ”Highly Questionable,” the man with the given name Phil Brooks was asked, albeit in a somewhat playful setting, when he had last won a “real fight.”
His response, while entertaining, might not satisfy the MMA purist.
“Unfortunately on the independent leagues a lot, fans would run into the ring,” Punk said. “That actually happens more often than you think in wrestling. Fans tend to think they’re part of the show and jump into the ring. I’d say I won my fair share of those. You gotta defend yourself, you know what I mean?”
Punk says he first learned about those unruly fans from his predecessors in the sports entertainment business. Although he has had his share of run-ins with people in the audience, his encounters apparently pale in comparison to what happened to some of pro wrestling’s tenured veterans. That said, Punk’s preferred method of defense might have been better utilized in the Pride Fighting Championships heyday.
“This was a lifetime ago, and I used to hear stories from the legends in wrestling like Terry Funk and Roddy Piper about how they would get fans so mad that they would rush the ring,” Punk said. “Old school wrestlers would get their car set on fire, they would get stabbed and various things. So early in my career, I’m talking 2000-2002, that was actually a goal of mine to try to get stabbed -- to wind somebody up so much that they stabbed me.
“It never made it that far, but plenty of people would rush the ring,” he explained. “The only way to get in the ring normally is you go in headfirst, and it’s the easiest thing to do is just soccer kick them in the head. Normally that deters anyone else from trying to jump into the ring.”
Punk also details his limited interaction with UFC President Dana White -- “We shared a deli tray once in Chicago maybe a year and a half ago; that’s about as wild as I get,” he said -- and describes a chance meeting with former NBA star Charles Barkley during his appearance on the show. The interview can be viewed in its entirety above.