Following a lopsided loss to Mickey Gall this past weekend at UFC 203, the mixed martial arts community quickly began criticizing former WWE superstar Phil “CM Punk” Brooks for his poor performance in the Octagon.
That criticizing only grew louder this week when the Ohio State Athletic Commission announced Punk had received a $500,000 pay day for his 144 seconds of work.
However, was clear that the UFC gave CM Punk the opportunity in hopes of a big financial score on their own end.
According to early pay-per-view trends reported by MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi, the juice was worth the squeeze. Raimondi indicated UFC 203 could be trending towards 650,000-800,000 pay-per view buys.
UFC 203 will likely have the most PPV buys by a card w/o McGregor, Rousey or Lesnar since UFC 183. Maybe since UFC 182.
— Marc Raimondi (@marc_raimondi) September 11, 2016
That would speak volumes about the former WWE star’s drawing power.
Whether it was because people wanted to watch CM Punk get beatdown or whether they were actually rooting for him doesn’t really matter, because the end result is still the same: pay-per-view dollars in the UFC’s pocket.
To put the numbers into perspective, the last pay-per-view event that UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic was against Fabricio Werdum, who was in the co-main event of UFC 203, back in May at UFC 198. That event drew only 350,000 buys, according to MMA Payout.
Alistair Overeem, who was Miocic’s opponent in Cleveland, only has headlined an event once and that drew 535,000 buys, but that was with the added draw of former champ, and another ex-WWE star, Brock Lesnar.
So what that means is Miocic has seen his pay-per-view numbers nearly double in the matter of a few months.
With the lack of top UFC stars on the card at UFC 203, conventional wisdom would tell you that CM Punk had a lot to do with the influx in attention. So before criticizing Punk for earning a huge purse, remember he also benefitted the UFC in a big way.
Whether that is enough to land him a second fight in the company remains to be seen.
Photo Credit: CM Punk, Twitter