Former WWE superstar CM Punk made his MMA debut at UFC 203 in Cleveland at the Quicken Loans Arena. Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, faced a young, talented opponent in Mickey Gall, and ultimately fell to Gall by submission in the first round.
After Punk's signing with the UFC was announced, Gall called for the fight in his professional debut when he learned that UFC president Dana White was in attendance. It was a bold, yet savvy move that fast tracked Gall's career.
During the weigh-ins on Friday, Gall went to shake Punk's hand, but the former WWE champion refused, which seemed to irk Gall. It was perhaps a last minute effort to gain a mental edge by CM Punk in what has been an otherwise friendly build up.
The move didn't help and Punk's debut didn't go well from the beginning. Gall was able to get Punk down within the first 15 seconds, and from there Punk struggled to survive. Gall started with the ground and pound, and as CM Punk switched positions to avoid taking more damage, Gall seamlessly transitioned into various submission attempts.
Punk did well to whether a few storms early on, but Gall just overwhelmed him. Eventually Punk gave up his back, trying to protect himself from the strikes. Gall eventually flattened out Punk and was able to sink in the rear naked choke to get the finish at 2:14 of the first-round.