Sunday Column: CM Punk, Aaron Chalmers And Erko Jun… What Should We Make Of These Guys?
Cancelled flights, no sleep, and another Sunday spent in an airport wondering whether it was all worth it.
I attended KSW 44 in Gdansk, Poland this weekend and by the time I get home, I could’ve travelled back to Chicago twice such is the irony of trying to cut down on my travel in the month of June.
Whatever the case, it’s given me more than enough time to take in both KSW and UFC 225 this weekend and it’s got me thinking about the recent trend of celebrities fighting on some of the biggest MMA fight cards.
If we go on case by case basis, you can only really start with CM Punk who last evening was handed his second defeat inside the UFC Octagon.
To call it anything but an ass whooping would be generous. Mike Jackson had the measure of him in every aspect of the game and it was frankly a little embarrassing that he didn’t push harder for the finish given some of the positions he found himself in.
— UFC (@ufc) June 10, 2018
Whilst there is always comfort in the argument “at least he was brave enough to step in there,” Punk was dominated and embarrassed for a second time; the only difference last evening was that Jackson prolonged the agony for 15-minutes.
No doubt the UFC will point towards the fact they got a few more pay-per-views out of having Punk on the pay-per-view main card for a second time, but really where do you draw the line. If you had Brock Lesnar fight a mountain gorilla you would sell pay-per-views, but you run the risk of cheapening your product and I think that’s what they’ve done on both occasions here.
We don’t need to see CM Punk fight in the UFC again. That’s not even debatable.
But what about the likes of Aaron Chalmers who recently fought on the Bellator 200 fight card in London and made his debut for the promotion.
Chalmers since his debut last year has gone 4-0 with four finishes and has been fighting a sensible level of competition on first BAMMA and then Bellator.
Whenever Chalmers fights in the UK, it brings a lot of attention to the event and while some on the domestic scene have argued that his inclusion on the televised portion of the BAMMA fight cards was a bit of a joke, it’s nowhere near as controversial as having a 0-1 fighter face another 0-1 fighter on a $65 pay-per-view.
Like Chalmers or not, he’s been handled well so far and it’s going to be interesting to see how far he can really go as the level of opposition he faces gets increasingly better.
Now what about Erko Jun? Last night the Bosnian bodybuilder debuted in KSW, a promotion known for blending both high quality MMA with bouts that they call “fun fights,” featuring all manner of celebrities and transitional stars.
The thing with KSW is they don’t put lipstick on the pig. Having a 0-0 Bosnian bodybuilder with 4 million Instagram followers take on a 45-year-old 1-0 Polish actor Tomasz Oswiecinski was never billed as anything more than fun spectacle and so it proved to be.
— KSW (@KSW_MMA) June 9, 2018
Both men came out swinging in what was a crazy and frenetic fight that saw Jun fight back from being dropped early on, to score a knockout victory himself midway through the first round. It was an incredible sight to see Jun show he really is a fighter at heart and pick himself up off the canvas to go on to win when so many would’ve just given up.
It wasn’t serious, but it was just as billed; a lot of fun.
So where do I stand on these guys crossing over into MMA?
In the right situation and with the right promotion, I don’t see why we shouldn’t accept the likes of Chalmers and co. into our sport. What we don’t need is though is a promotion trying to tell us that these guys deserve to be on a UFC pay-per-view.
If you’re the leading promotion in the world, I’m afraid you got to act like it and that sort of fight doesn’t belong on that platform and especially not behind that paywall.
Thankfully the rest of UFC 227 was absolutely superb.
Bring on next week.