CM Punk is scheduled to make his UFC debut Saturday. But the former WWE and indy star needed special legal clearance to enter the octagon.
According to Combat Sports Law, a self-described combat sports legal resource, the UFC 203 fight between the debuting Phil Brooks (CM Punk) and Mickey Gall needed an appeal to make it work. With the event taking place in Cleveland, the UFC must get approval by the Ohio Athletic Commission. In Ohio, there are specific requirements for fighters turning pro.
The requirements for a professional combative sports license vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and Ohio has specific requirements in place for those wishing to turn pro. Ohio Administrative Code 3773-7-20(E) sets out the following standard:
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 to compete as a professional mixed martial arts fighter. They may appeal to the executive director or Ohio athletic commission to have this waived.
Obviously as Brooks is entering his first fight, he does not meet the requirement of five amateur fights, let alone a winning record. Thus, the Commission has exercised a waiver of this safety standard in order to allow him to make his UFC Debut, Combat Sports Law wrote.
According to Bloody Elbow, the potential for a waiver is included directly in the clause, apparently for situations just like this. The Ohio Athletic Commission gave the SB Nation site this comment, in regards to Brooks fighting at UFC 203.
"We felt it was like the Brock Lesnar situation, that there’s enough experience, and trust the UFC would have also ensured that he met the qualifications to compete as a Professional. We have permitted others with past experience to turn Professional. That’s why the exemption was put in the rule. We feel that this is a competitive matchup."
Brooks will fight Mickey Gall Saturday at UFC 203 in Quicken Loans Arena.