Legendary professional wrestling commentator Jim Ross is pulling for CM Punk in his UFC debut this Saturday against Mickey Gall, but realistically he does not expect a win from the debuting ex-pro wrestler.
“I don’t think he wins,” Ross told MMAjunkie Radio (transcription via MMAjunkie). “I hope he does. Four-ounce gloves are a difference maker for a lot of people. I think he’ll have a decent showing, I really do. But I know why he’s signed and he’s going to help the fight be more financially successful. Maybe not artistically successful, but financially. As we know, the bottom line is the money.”
Ross does not want to say it was completely about the money and extra attention, but he thinks that had a lot to do with UFC’s decision to sign Punk.
“I don’t want to say it was a publicity stunt, because that would be inaccurate, but I thought it had a lot of publicity stunt elements to it. You sign a guy, based on his being a major fan of the genre of MMA and being an amateur practitioner of Muay Thai, being a student of the game, no doubt about that. But, also being 37 years old and never having a fight. So why would they sign him to a three-fight deal, as I recall? Because he brings a great marketing opportunity with him because he has name identity. He’s attitudinal and a unique entity.”
Ross expects Punk’s billing on UFC 203 to make a noticeable difference in the amount of people who buy the PPV and have their eyes on UFC.
“I think the signing was to create a buzz and if you get something out of him, it’s a bonus. What they’re going to get out of him this week is additional pay-per-view buys they may not have received if Punk was not on the card because we’re talking about him. A lot of people are talking about him. I’ve done a ton of media in the last 10 days, as much as I have for any UFC event, because CM Punk is on the card. For the fighters and those that say Punk took a spot from one of the regular fighters away, I say I don’t think you’re going to get the guys on the card getting a piece of the pay-per-view to agree with that. They’re going to be happy he’s bringing more eyeballs to the TV.”