For the last several weeks, I’ve been asking people about CM Punk, trying to make sense of the excitement of his transition to MMA. I had been calling him Centimeter Punk, an embarrassing byproduct of a European education, I suppose. But the name made sense because he presents as a slight-bodied man in comparison to his presumably chemically-enhanced counterparts in the squared circle.
Not Punk though. The founding member of the Straight Edge Society, he is no doubt chemical free and morally pristine. As such, he has the potential to be what Brock Lesnar could have been, but wasn’t. For instance, his already lean body probably won’t undergo a deflated transition. What we see is what we will probably continue to get.
That may be why his signing is so important. It marks a return to the clean family values MMA has been missing, at least in part, since the retirement of Matt Hughes. It is a belated transition of sorts, from unmarked tiller of God’s auburn harvest to the Illustrated Man. His body tells an organic story: a hero’s journey from the vaudeville of professional wrestling entertainment to the purified knights’ round table of the UFC.
But then I saw a video of CM hitting someone with a chair. Confusing, to say the least. Result: hopeful but undecided.