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Commissions say CM Punk's debut opponent will determine their willingness to grant fighter license

Commissions aren't ready to rubber stamp a license for CM Punk to fight in the UFC, he'll have to be matched up in a way that they agree with.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Phil Brooks, better known to the world as CM Punk, is a bit of an experimental signing for the UFC. The former WWE superstar was announced as a big splash signing for the promotion during this past weekend's UFC 181 broadcast.

Brooks has never fought mixed martial arts at any level, but does have some jiu jitsu training in his background.

That lack of experience is an issue for some commissions it seems. New Jersey told Fox Sports to not expect them to just rubber stamp the 36 year old's application for a fight license:

The head of New Jersey's athletic commission, Larry Hazzard, says that a license application from Brooks to fight on a UFC card would, "raise a red flag."

"We would really have to look at this very closely," he told us.

"We would have to take a close look at it. Normally, we require some type of background as either an amateur or a professional. This would certainly raise a red flag."


Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett echoed Hazzard's concern and interest in who the UFC might match with Brooks in a debut fight. "The matchup would matter a great deal," he said.

The idea already seems to be that the UFC will bring in a lower level fighter for Brooks to test himself against. That's a bit of a detour from the idea that the UFC is a place for the best to compete and would be an undeniable "freak show" appeal. Seeing how a complete unknown (in terms of skill) does against a lower tier opponent is a clear shift in strategy for the UFC, but it's the right way to go for Brooks and the UFC if they want it to be more than a one-off fight anyway.

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