CM Punk
courtesy WWE

WWE Superstars transitioning to MMA performers and vice-versa have been a trend and CM Punk was one of these names. Following his infamous departure from the WWE after having an altercation with the Vince McMahon regime in 20114, the-then longest-reigning WWE Champion turned his attention to UFC, a move that created headlines all over the sports entertainment business.

UFC CEO Dana White recently looked back on that timespan in the company and the public scrutiny that surrounded CM Punk’s UFC salary. White discusses the controversy, regarding a significant financial reward that the WWE Superstar received despite having a relatively short-lived and unsuccessful stint in the number-one MMA organization in the world.

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It was in late 2014, at the UFC 181 pay-per-view broadcast in Las Vegas, Nevada that the MMA community got to learn that Phil “CM Punk” Brooks had signed a multi-year deal with the UFC, despite his lack of experience in this particular business. After getting fired by the WWE earlier that year, the Chicago-native was desperate to prove his potential to the world but he failed miserably at the attempt.

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CM Punk gained more than $1 million for his fight at UFC 181

The people were surprised that despite his limited experience in MMA, CM Punk got a huge paycheck in the UFC. Recent unsealed lawsuit details from 2017 disclosed that he received an impressive $500,000 financial compensation for his debut fight in 2016. An update from WWFOldSchool revealed that with various add-ons, he was sitting at the top of the UFC’s pay structure at the time as the total earnings reached the $1,042,736 figure.

Dana White recently had a conversation with an attorney and recorded his intense reaction from the public regarding CM Punk’s earnings. He reacted by prizing a fighter without prior MMA experience with so much money. While addressing the controversy, he provided insight into the reasoning behind the financial arrangement as given in the following conversation.

Dana: “We had some guy that was – that was paid a certain amount of money and never – oh, the professional wrestler that we brought in. Not Brock [Lesnar], the other one.”
Attorney: “CM Punk?”
Dana: “Oh, yeah. People went crazy when they saw what he got paid. Even the women.”

Arindam Pal

A WWE writer passionate about the sports.