In Defense of Punk…

“We gon’ talk about CM Punk?” – Stone Cold Steve Austin
Yes we are Steve.
CM Punk is back to creating headlines and I love it. CM Punk did an interview with Complex Magazine’s Kevin Wong this past week (you can read the article here). The piece has produced polarizing opinions.
The interview appeared to be moving along relatively normal at first. There were a few hiccups here and there. Early in the article, Wong asked Punk about WWE. Punk responded,
“I don’t feel like fielding questions about [WWE]. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, and I’ve accomplished everything I was going to.”
At that point the topic of WWE should have been dropped.
Wong did not heed Punk’s warning and continued asking him about WWE anyway. This is where the controversy erupted. When Wong asked Punk about the transition from WWE to UFC, Punk went on a tirade stating,
” I get this question a lot, and it’s like you guys think I’m an idiot…. Your question is insulting. You’re asking me if I know the difference between the WWE and the UFC?”
Speaking as a writer and podcast host, it is essential to know your subject/guest/topic as much as possible. Ever since he left WWE, Punk has stated over and over again that he is through talking about professional wrestling.
Looking at Punk’s perspective, he has already fielded questions about his transition from WWE to UFC countless times. I’m with him: it’s a boring topic that’s just beating a dead horse. If you want to hear about CM Punk’s philosophy about transitioning from wrestling to MMA listen to Parts 1 and 2 of him on The Art of Wrestling with Colt Cobana. Or read this, this, or watch this.
Wong is a teacher and freelance writer. Through some research on Wong’s Twitter page, Complex bio, and WhatCulture bio, I feel like I have a decent grasp on his professional interests. Obviously, the internet can only tell you so much about somebody, but to me he seems to be a massive wrestling fan first and foremost. I could not locate a single MMA-related article he has written.
Perhaps that is part of the issue. Complex is neither an MMA nor a wrestling magazine. Complex primarily focuses on pop culture. They dropped the ball on handling the CM Punk interview. They would have been better off having an MMA writer interview CM Punk. That’s the simple truth.
Complex should have did their homework. Punk is one of the most challenging interviews in all of sports. He has a sharp personality and is notorious for his hatred of the media. Sending any reporter to talk to him is a challenge.
If I had the chance to interview CM Punk, I would make sure I wasn’t wasting his or my time. I would view it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk about things he’s never talked about before.
At the minimum, I would have questions prepared in advance and either run them by Punk or his agent. Had any of these practices been done by Complex, a confrontation could have been avoided.
I feel that Wong’s word choice toward the end of the interview also twisted him up with Punk. Wong writes,
“When [Punk]’s asked how he might respond to fans who question his motives for going into MMA, wonder if it is a publicity stunt, or wonder if he’s ever going to fight, he pushes back again. Now, he’s no longer smiling. “You say my fans say that? You’re mistaken. My fans do not say that.”
Wong followed this by internally asking,
“Can a person be a fan of one aspect or part of [a] person, while disliking other parts? And is there any way to engage in civilized dialogue, or are all criticisms and questions inherently negative?”
Merriam Webster defines ‘fan’ as “an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit).” I don’t think a true fan of CM Punk’s would question his motives for wanting to try out MMA. A fan would stick by Punk and support his new pursuits.
The ‘fans’ Wong is referring to are wrestling fans, not CM Punk fans. These fans are still pained by Punk’s decision to leave wrestling (“turn his back” if you ask them). They WANT to see Punk fail, so he can crawl back to wrestling and satisfy their demented fandom.
I stick by CM Punk. I support his decision to voice his opinion. I like that he screams in the face of dumb questions. I’ve heard enough talk. I just want to see Punk fight in the Octagon once and for all.
24 year-old Mickey Gall (2-0) won his fight Saturday on UFC’s Fight Night. Afterward he was formally announced as Punk’s first opponent. They will fight later this summer.
by Kevin D’Hooge

2 responses to “In Defense of Punk…

  1. I see both sides to this whole issue. Yes, the writer was getting a little greedy with his questions to Punk, but you have to admit that Punk was being a tad out of line himself.

    • Of course. It takes 2 to tango. Punk certainly could have been more polite, but I think we all know he is a polarizing person who is always on the verge of flipping a switch. With this knowledge being crystal clear I think the interview should have been prepared for accordingly

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