Choking is illegal in professional wrestling but not in mixed martial arts, and former pro wrestler CM Punk found that out in his MMA debut Saturday night at UFC 203.
Mickey Gall, 24, used a rear naked choke to make Punk (Phil Brooks) tap out at 2:14 in the first round of their pay-per-view welterweight (170 pound) matchup from Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
Gall (3-0) dominated from the start, quickly taking down Punk, 37, and then hammering him with a barrage of punches and strikes. A bloody Punk defended himself underneath, escaping one rear naked choke, but Gall, a brown belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, continued the onslaught and eventually caught Punk again in another choke to end it.
Referee Keith Peterson officiated the action, and the crowd cheered Punk, who quit WWE in 2014 backstage at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
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After the bout, Gall told interviewer Joe Rogan that fans on the Internet should stop the hate. Gall respects Punk for stepping inside the octagon.
Rogan then turned his attention to Punk, who said this was the second best day of his life -- the first marrying former WWE Diva AJ Lee. Punk also said he will fight again and told kids/people to follow their dreams no matter what anyone says. If “you” fall down, get up.
Gall entered the arena to the 1980s upbeat tune “Mickey,” sung by Toni Basil. UFC President Dana White wanted Gall to go harder with his music selection, but many fans on the Internet supported Gall’s choice, and White listened.
Punk, a novice to fighting, appeared to his famous WWE theme entrance “Cult Of Personality,” sung by rockers Living Colour.
WWE Superstar Brock Lesnar lost his UFC debut to former UFC champ Frank Mir in 2008, but unlike Punk, Lesnar dominated the action, before getting caught with a kneebar to lose by submission at 1:30 of the first round. Lesnar bounced back en route to becoming UFC champion. Lesnar, who had an extensive amateur wrestling background, is married to former WWE Diva Sable.
Former NBA World Champion Miami Heat player and current Cleveland Cavaliers big man Chris “Birdman” Anderson attended UFC 203.
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