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Phil “CM Punk” Brooks is less than a month away from his second trek to the UFC octagon. That means it’s time for the critics who don’t like the fact he’s taking up a UFC roster spot to come out of the woodwork.
The scene going into Punk’s (0-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) sophomore MMA effort is quite different from the first. His debut, which resulted in a first-round submission loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in September 2016, was a media whirlwind. The former WWE superstar was featured on nearly every major media outlet and had a television show documenting his preparation, among other exposure.
That’s not how it’s playing out this time around heading into UFC 225. Punk has been operating in the shadows for the past 20 months and has kept a low profile going into his scheduled welterweight bout against Mike Jackson (0-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) at the upcoming event, which takes place June 9 at United Center in Chicago.
The UFC 225 main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass, and Punk’s fight again has a high-profile PPV slot. His fight with Jackson kicks off the main card, which has sparked some criticism.
Punk rarely addresses those complaints on social media, but today he chimed in on a Twitter thread featuring UFC Hall of Famer Mark Coleman criticizing the ex-wrestler’s placement on the UFC 225 card. Punk noted it wasn’t his decision, and if he had his way, he’d be in a less-visible spot on the card (via Twitter):
On a lesser card, the idea of Punk fighting on PPV may not generate as much discussion. The UFC announced the planned UFC 225 fight order over the weekend, though, and fighting before Punk on the prelims are former UFC champs Holly Holm, Carla Esparza and Rashad Evans, as well as former title challengers Ricardo Lamas and Joseph Benavidez.
Obviously, it’s not hard to understand why the UFC prefers to have Punk on the PPV platform. His fan base is used to plunking down hard-earned cash to watch him perform. MMA fans, however, are not as used to being asked to spend $65 to order a card that features a matchup between two fighters with a combined 0-2 record in MMA.
The latest UFC 225 card includes:
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