CLEVELAND (AP) — CM Punk could have used a folding chair or a tag-team partner.
Out of pro wrestling’s scripted ring, his first trip into the octagon didn’t last long.
Punk, who was one of WWE’s biggest stars when he left it two years ago to try his hand in ultimate fighting, tapped out just 2:14 into the first round after he was pummeled and choked by Mickey Gall on the UFC 203 undercard Saturday night.
The 38-year-old Punk was on his back less than 10 seconds into the fight. Pinned up against the octagon’s cage, he was unable to get out from under Gall, who landed numerous blows to both sides of Punk’s head.
Looking confident and mugging for the sellout crowd, Punk, whose debut had been delayed by injuries, entered Quicken Loans Arena to “Cult of Personality” by Living Colour, the song he used for years on the WWE circuit.
After stepping into the eight-sided arena for the first time, Punk smiled as he looked across at Gall, an up-and-coming welterweight from New Jersey who had called out the famous wrestler and pledged to “destroy” him.
Gall made good on his promise, quickly shooting a double-legged takedown on Punk, who seemed in shock as he laid flat on his back. With Punk lying prone, Gall smashed a right hand into his temple and then kneeled on top of him and swung both arms like a pendulum, connecting with one hard shot after another.
Punk nearly got free, but Gall regained a dominant position and squeezed his opponent’s head like he wanted to snap it off. Punk had no choice but to tap his hand on the mat, ending the fight the way many inside UFC predicted.
“Yeah you know in life you go big or you go home,” Punk said afterward. “I just like to take challenges. It was a hell of a climb, I didn’t get to the summit tonight but it doesn’t mean I’m going to give up it doesn’t mean I’m going anywhere, it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop.”
Punk’s first foray into mixed martial arts was on the undercard of heavyweight Stipe Miocic’s title defense against Alistair Overeem, who will have to battle both the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder Clevelander and a sellout crowd of more than 20,000 rooting against him.
by Tom Withers (AP)