Former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star CM Punk might not be respected in the UFC circuit, but that has not stopped the president Dana White from defending his choice to put the 39-year-old over Alistair Overeem on the pay-per-view main card for UFC 225.
Despite currently sitting at No. 2 in the UFC’s official contender rankings, Overeem is not seen as a big enough draw, something which White made very clear when talking to the press.
“Hey listen, when Alistair Overeem sells as many pay-per-views as ‘CM Punk’ does, we can argue,” White told reporters as quoted by MMA Junkie.
The 48-year-old scoffed at suggestions that this move was a demotion for Overeem, going on to name the other big names that will take part in the preliminaries.
— Cris Cyborg #CyborgNation (@criscyborg) May 29, 2018
“He was ‘demoted’? If that’s the way you want to look at him, being ‘demoted’, what is Rashad Evans? What is Pettis? There’s guys that could be on the main card that are on the Fight Pass prelims.”
Overeem for his part should feel hard done by, considering that Punk has struggled to transition from the WWE to the MMA, losing to Mickey Gall in the first round at UFC 203, in what was his pro-debut. Punk has several detractors with commentator Joe Rogan even going on to claim that he should not be fighting in the Octagon and would be better off competing at an amateur event.
The UFC 225 is scheduled to take place on the 9th of June at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
- Champ Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero – for middleweight title
- Colby Covington vs. Rafael dos Anjos – for interim welterweight title
- Megan Anderson vs. Holly Holm
- Andrei Arlovski vs. Tai Tuivasa
- CM Punk vs. Mike Jackson
PRELIMINARY CARD (FS1)
- Curtis Blaydes vs. Alistair Overeem
- Carla Esparza vs. Claudia Gadelha
- Mirsad Bektic vs. Ricardo Lamas
- Rashad Coulter vs. Chris De La Rocha
PRELIMINARY CARD (UFC Fight Pass)
- Rashad Evans vs. Anthony Smith
- Joseph Benavidez vs. Sergio Pettis
- Bobby Green vs. Clay Guida
- Dan Ige vs. Mike Santiago