Ladies and gentlemen of the Fightful jury, today I come to you with the case of Mike Jackson/CM Punk against Dana White/UFC. Those who watched UFC 225 saw a fight between two 0-1 fighters. Mr. Mike Jackson was awarded a unanimous decision victory in the contest. Following the conclusion of the event, Mr. Dana White was none too pleased with how the fight turned out. We are here today to find whether Mr. White acted in a rational manner during the post-fight press conference.
Plaintiff's Counselor: It wasn't a good fight, but it was a fight Dana White and UFC management deemed worthy of being on pay-per-view thanks to the name value of Mr. Punk. Prior to the bell ringing, many criticized the contest for getting a pay-per-view spot over title eliminator bouts such as Alistair Overeem vs. Curtis Blaydes, Claudia Gadelha vs. Carla Esparza and Sergio Pettis vs. Joseph Benavidez. Once the fight was over, the vast majority called it an embarrassment to the sport. But what did they expect? The two men had less than three minutes combined of professional experience. They are amateur fighters at best. Why should be they be criticized for fighting like amateur fighters? It is not the fault of Mr. Jackson or Mr. Punk. Mr. White and the UFC are at fault for booking such a fight in the first place.
Defense Attorney: Mr. Jackson acted in an unprofessional manner in the cage. That is why my client criticized him. It was Mr. Jackson's unprofessionalism that proved he should not be with the UFC, the top organization in mixed martial arts. Mr. White was well within his rights to criticize both participants and should not be held accountable for speaking on emotion following the event.
Witness: Dana White
Mr. White, why was this fight on the main card?
“Hey listen, when Alistair Overeem sells as many pay-per-views as CM Punk does, we can argue."
Isn't that a bit unfair seeing as Punk has had just one UFC fight on a card headlined by Alistair Overeem? The event drew 450,000 buys. Hardly the needle moving numbers of, say, Brock Lesnar, who drew 780,000 buys against Overeem.
(No comment on record)
Do you still believe it was the right call?
"I regretted not putting it on Fight Pass"
Mr. White, what did you think of the performance of Mr. Jackson against Mr. Punk at UFC 225?
"I don’t know what that guy did for a living before we gave him this shot, but whatever it was he needs to go back and do that again. He’s 0-2 as far as I’m concerned.”
And how about the performance of Punk?
"Listen, he got clipped a lot in that fight, and it looked like he was hurt bad a couple of times. He stayed in there, he went for three rounds. It should be a wrap. The guy's 39 years old. I love the guy. He's the nicest guy in the world. We gave him two shots, and he had a lot of heart (at UFC 225) in this fight, and yeah, I think he should call it a wrap.
"A lot of people talk shit about CM, well get in there. Come on over. Have a fight and fight one of these guys,” he said. “It’s easy to sit in your living room and talk s***. This guy was a huge star in WWE and he came over here and put it all on the line twice man in front of the whole world. If people can’t respect that, then their a fucking idiot.”
So, Mr. White, if you maintain that Punk has a lot of heart, wouldn't it make sense that Mr. Jackson would struggle to finish him?
"This guy was acting like a goofball (at UFC 225). You get this opportunity to fight CM Punk and you’re doing like bolo punches to the body on top? Never looked like he was trying to finish the fight ever, right? Looked like he could have finished the fight a few times. Never tried."
Mr. Jackson is 0-1. How do we know he's capable of finishing a fight or what him trying to finish a fight looks like?
(No comment on record)
No further questions.
Witness: CM Punk
Mr. Punk, what does CM stand for?
No further questions.
Witness: Mike Jackson
Mr. Jackson, why do you think they booked you against Mr. Punk?
"First and foremost, I'm an entertainer, and that's how I'm looking at this. It's a spectacle. It's maybe not necessarily something that should be in the UFC, but I'm not knocking because I understand why we're doing this. I've broken this down from a logical standpoint, and at the end of the day it's a business and this was a business decision."
And did you think you could finish Mr. Punk prior to facing him?
"I can end him in the first round, if I choose to. I can end it in the first minute, if I choose to."
Mr. Jackson, once you were in there with Mr. Punk, did you feel as if you could finish him?
"I hit him with punches and elbows and he stayed standing. I didn’t want to run in and get caught with dumb shit. Imagine being the guy who loses to CM Punk!"
Do you believe you were acting like, as Mr. White called you, "a goofball"?
"I'm not that vain. I was actually looking at my corner. I was looking for a little bit of instruction. I also knew that if I wasn't necessarily looking at him, he didn't know when the shots were going to come. Every time I was looking away and I would throw the shot, I felt them land.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know punching someone in the face while looking at my corner was showboating; excuse me."
And what did you make of Mr. White's comments?
“It was one of these things where I was confused because all I kept hearing about was that I was taunting him and showboating. That’s not my character, that’s not my style. Then I hear what Dana White was saying, he’s running his mouth. Look, I know Dana is emotional, he’s like a little girl sometimes and he gets in his feelings. But, when you have a platform like that, you need to take a step back. I just didn’t understand it.”
No further questions
Plaintiff's Counselor: Ladies and gentlemen of the Fightful jury, we have presented you with all of the facts. Our client, Mr. Jackson, was listening to his corner and fighting his best fight. It is not his fault that he's a 0-1 fighter fighting out other client, another 0-1 fighter. This fight was booked for entertainment purposes. Mr. Jackson gave an entertaining performance, while fighting to his strengths. Mr. Punk has been praised by Jackson, White, and UFC commentary for his toughness. This is not a video game. The words FINISH HIM do not appear on-screen when your opponent's health has been sapped. Mr. Jackson fought a tactical fight and won 30-26 on all scorecards. That is not an embarrassing performance.
Defense Attorney: Our client has seen thousands of fights. He knows when a fighter is finished and when a fighter is clowning around and letting him off the hook. Mr. Jackson let Mr. Punk off the hook at UFC 225. Instead of taking the fight serious, he wanted to get the most out of the bout. He thought he was Floyd Mayweather against Conor McGregor. It was embarrassing to the sport and our client has no regrets about what he said.