The fall out upon former professional wrestler tuned professional MMA fighter CM Punk has been pretty harsh since his submission loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203, things got even spicier when Punk’s payout ($500,000) was revealed earlier this week.
However, while the majority of people have been critical of Punk, a fighter from the rival Bellator MMA promotion in King Mo has gone in a different direction while discussing Punk’s professional MMA debut.
King Mo, real name being Muhammed Lawal, recently spoke to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour about Punk’s bout at UFC 203.
"My silver lining is, [Punk is] a fighter. Here's why I say this. Any normal man would've tapped when he's getting beat up like that, and would've quit…Man, he didn't quit. He was getting pummeled, he got put in every bad position, he was flattened out getting hit. And you know what? He kept on trying. There are people, there are vets, there's some champions out there who'll tap to strikes. But you know what, he kept he fighting and got submitted. So I can give him that. He went out there to win. He tried. That's all you can ask. Next time he'll do better” said King Mo.
King Mo even talks about the pressure that Punk faced when entering the octagon, which is something that every fighter goes through at some point in their careers.
"Here's the thing, man, he's new to the sport," Lawal said. "He jumped in head first and I could tell he felt good. The crowd didn't get to him, but when he got in the cage, his nerves got to him, because when the fight started, instead of settling down and moving around a little bit, he shuffled forward in kill mode -- not using his tools, because he was in a good camp. Duke Roufus knows his thing, he knows his stuff, so I'm pretty sure he was like, ‘when you go out there, feint, use your jab, set something up,' but CM Punk was in kill mode and just forgot, just didn't implement the gameplan. It takes practice, it takes time…He's been training for two years with Duke Roufus, putting in work. I text him here and there to check up on him, see how he's doing and see if he's feeling good, and man, he was serious about it. You could see his body change. He was pumped up. A lesser man would've just found a way to not take the fight, or found a way to pull out, but he didn't. He stepped up to the plate and took a swing” said Lawal.
King Mo also goes in depth about the payout CM Punk received for his professional MMA debut/UFC debut, which Mo says that the fighter deserved.
"In hindsight, yeah, he's worth that," Lawal said. "You know why? Because if he would've fought sooner, the hype would've been even bigger…People are intrigued, people are tuning in to watch. So they can complain about him not being worth $500,000, but all those people complaining probably watched the fight. ... I'd bring him back. He wants to fight. I think that it's great when a guy like that puts in time and effort and puts it all on the line. People will say that, oh, he shouldn't be in the UFC. But the UFC signed him, so you know what, give him a chance. Let him fight out his contract. This is a dream for him, just like when Herschel Walker fought. Herschel Walker wanted to fight, they gave him a chance, he did it."
Lawal also talked about whether or not CM Punk should ever fight again, although he does say that if he does, it should not be in the UFC.
"I think he'll fight again," Lawal said. "I think he wants to. I don't know if the UFC will allow it, because I don't really know what the UFC is doing. I don't really keep up with them. I just keep up with fighters who I'm cool with in the UFC, but I hope he gets a chance to fight again. If he doesn't, hey, come on over to Bellator, dog. We'll get you a fight over here too. ... We'll book him up.”