Written by @NickRiznerMMA
“Winners get motivated; losers get jealous.” – Mickey Gall
CM Punk’s signing with the UFC has ruffled a lot of feathers, and it’s no surprise why.
He’s never competed in MMA. He’s never competed in amateur wrestling. He’s never competed in jiu jitsu, or kickboxing, or muay thai, or any other discipline you can think up. His days have been spent in the staged world of the WWE, where winners and losers are predetermined and the story lines are manufactured.
He has nearly two and a half million followers on twitter. He brings with him the possibility of new eyes, those of the wrestling purists, potentially watching MMA for the first time. His name carries dollar signs, and ratings bumps, and headlines in main stream media outlets the world over.
But he has no combat sports experience. None.
For many, it’s a question of whether he deserves it. What has CM Punk done to earn his shot at the UFC? Why does he get a spot on the roster, while men who have dedicated their lives to this sport get overlooked? The argument is justified, yet slightly misleading. The notion of him taking up a roster spot is more hyperbole than anything else. In truth, he’s done the opposite.
Enter Mickey Gall:
Right as I heard Dana was going to be on the show. Right as I hung up the phone with Frankie Perez, who owns Dead Serious MMA, and he was like Dana’s gonna be there, I was like, Oh… I’m calling out CM Punk. I was certain at that point.
Mickey Gall was first introduced to the main stream MMA world via Dana White’s new digital series, Looking For A Fight. During a trip to Philadelphia, Dana and the boys stopped by a local show where Gall was making his pro debut. It was here that he first caught the attention of the boss man, who went on to say, “Kid comes out. He’s got some charisma and some style, and he wins his fight impressively. He finishes the guy. Then he gets on the mic, and he calls out CM Punk…”
It was clear that there was something stirring in the wild mind of Uncle Dana. And in the end, a coy message seemed to back that up. Dana wrapped the episode by saying, “Mickey Gall? I’m interested in Mickey Gall.”
Although it wasn’t confirmed during the episode, it was later announced that Dana’s interest went far beyond that of a fleeting thought. In fact, he would sign Mickey Gall to a UFC contract after just one professional fight. The kicker? If he wins his debut, he will be the first fighter to welcome CM Punk to the UFC. Needless to say, it’s been a wild experience for the 24 year old prospect:
Craziest weeks of my life. It’s been unbelievable. I’m very fortunate. I feel very lucky to have these opportunities. I’m sure a lot of people would be very envious to be in this spot as a 1-0 pro, now signed to the UFC, and looking to get that CM Punk fight.
Like Dana White said, that’s a lottery ticket. That’s a beautiful fight for someone like me.
Though inexperienced in terms of cage time, Gall believes he represents the grind of a true martial artist. This is not a new hobby or some part time job. This has been his life’s work for the better part of a decade. And he hopes that the faction of the MMA community that has been down on the signing of CM Punk will rally behind him as the true embodiment of a fighter.
I’ve been training hard. This has been my life for the past seven, eight years. This is what I’ve focused on. I’ve suffered for this. I’d love to be representing MMA vs. someone who thinks they can come in and make some noise in our sport.
But first, he must pass one more test.
Mickey Gall is slated to make his UFC debut against a man named of Mike Jackson. Jackson has never competed as professional. He’s 0-1 as an amateur; a fight that came back in 2012. And his major claim to fame is the video he posted on YouTube of former Power Rangers actor Jason David Frank making his MMA debut.
If you’re overwhelmed by the lack of the experience in this trio of competitors or confused by the seemingly obvious pulled-strings by the upper management at the UFC, don’t worry. Mike Jackson is as confused as anyone.
Gall, however, feels as if Jackson is as deserving as anyone. And he may have a point. Ignoring the laughable lack of experience in MMA, Jackson seems to have some striking prowess. According to Raimondi, Mike Jackson has been training in MMA since 2008. He’s 2-0 as a boxer and 1-0 in Legacy Kickboxing; all three of his wins coming via knockout.
I’ve seen him fight. He’s got good stand-up. He’s got a nice little check hook backing up. I’m absolutely fine with him getting a shot. He deserves it just as much as me; as anyone. No one ‘deserves’ anything.
He’s good. I see some vulnerabilities that I’m going to expose. I see the fight going well for me. And I’m going to be looking to win impressively.
I always come out there looking to perform. Looking to – for lack of a better word – show off. Show what I can do. We train for hours and hours and hours , and you have fifteen minutes tops to show what you can do. So I’m always coming out there with a chip on my shoulder.
The MMA community is a passionate bunch. They get very defensive when someone tries to mess with what’s theirs. And truth be told, everything surrounding this story is a bit suspect. From the lucky kid discovered on a YouTube series with one professional fight under his belt to the perplexed videographer with an 0-1 amateur record and no pro experience. From the pro wrestler that wanted to try his hand at mixed martial arts to the people in charge of the sport’s premier organization playing puppet master to some pseudo #1 contender match.
There is bound to be some hate.
As for Mickey Gall, he’s okay with the negative comments. He fully understands his good fortune in all this, and he’s simply looking to make the most of it.
I don’t blame any of them. Honestly, this is something I would say. A lot of my friends right now are super motivated from what’s going on with me. Winners get motivated from stuff like this. I think losers get jealous.
And I can’t say I blame some of the jealousy and the negative remarks. I don’t let that bother me man. I kind of feel bad for them. I’m extremely fortunate to be in this position and I don’t make any bones about that. That’s the truth. I’m lucky to be in this spot, and I don’t blame people for wanting to be there. But I don’t let that negative stuff bother me, I really don’t.
The circus begins this Saturday.Check out our latest podcast episode featuring a conversation w/James Lynch.