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Can We Please Give Up On a CM Punk Return?

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Every couple of months another report surfaces about a potential CM Punk return to wrestling. It’s getting to the point where no matter who says it, you have to take it with a grain of salt.

Wrestling News World reported, so take this with a grain of salt, that Vince had sent feelers out to CM Punk. Current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar, reportedly, will not be returning to WWE after his contract expires in April. It makes sense that Vince may be panicking to get big name stars back in WWE. To fill the void that would be left by Lesnar.

While it’s unknown what Punk said back to WWE if he said anything at all; in an interview with ESPN Radio Chicago, when asked if he missed wrestling, Punk responded, “Not at all.” Punk would go on to state in the interview that he is still caught up in a defamation lawsuit against WWE’s doctor Chris Amann. A lawsuit Punk believes WWE is funding.

So, it doesn’t sound like the bridges that burned when Punk walked out in January of 2014, have done much healing.

Bridges Burnt:

When Punk left in 2014, it took the wrestling world by storm. No one understood why at the time. Punk had just wrestled in the Royal Rumble the night before. Although, and it was noticeable, Punk suffered a concussion during the match. Still though at the time that didn’t seem like a reason to be completely absent from WWE programming.

Vince McMahon would say in a conference call with investors that Punk was on a sabbatical. A statement Punk refuted on Art of Wrestling. A podcast hosted by Punk’s former friend Colt Cabana. Punk said he was suspended, by Vince, at the time.

According to Punk on AOW, the concussion was merely the final straw, in a series of frustrating circumstances that had been building over time.

Spanning from late 2011 until early 2013, a total of 343 days, the sixth longest of all time, Punk held the WWE Championship. Punk would drop the belt in January of 2013 to The Rock so that the Rock-Cena feud could have the belt going into the main event of that year’s Wrestle Mania. Punk would go on to wrestle industry legend The Undertaker at that year’s Mania. In the best match on the card.

Still though, Punk was unhappy about dropping the belt. Punk felt that he had earned the right to be in the main event of Wrestle Mania. And you really can’t argue that he didn’t. He even said on AOW that he pitched the idea to Vince. Asking Vince to make the main event an elimination match, and have him get eliminated five minutes into the match. Punk didn’t care; he just wanted to be in the main event of Mania. It is the only thing he has yet to do in his WWE career. And probably the only way Vince and co., could entice Punk to return.

Fired on His Wedding Day!

WWE would later pull off the most unprofessional move they’ve ever pulled, and fire Punk on his wedding day. Punk said on AOW that WWE knew his wedding date well before hand. Punk, naturally, requested time off before and after the date. And he was marrying former WWE Diva’s Champion AJ Lee. On the podcast, Punk called this, “a calculated and deliberate move.”

Vince has since apologized to Punk, on Stone Cold Steve Austins podcast on a WWE Network exclusive. McMahon called it a “coincidence that Punk got his severance papers on his wedding day.” He blamed the situation on a lack of communication between WWE Legal, and WWE Talent Relations. Vince would go on to say, “Multiple individuals in the past have been disgruntled with the company, and said things they would later regret, and still returned to the company.” And that he hoped Punk and the WWE would “get together again in the future.”

Will Punk Ever Return?

Never say never. Given everything, WWE put Punk through. It doesn’t seem likely. The stuff I mentioned before only scratches the surface.

Punk has seemed adamant about never returning to wrestling in any capacity. He’s stated multiple times that he doesn’t love it anymore. Which is a shame, because Punk truly is one of the best to lace up a pair of boots. He’s one of the best on the mic WWE has ever seen.

While on the Jim Norton and Sam Roberts show to promote her book ‘Crazy is My Superpower.’ AJ Lee, CM Punk’s wife, said that she missed wrestling, while her husband didn’t really.

“Him and I have different views on that for sure. My heart is always gonna have this giant place for wrestling, so I’ll always miss that moment right in the ring where you feel the energy from the crowd, and there’s nothing that can replace that. But I think that you should appreciate the different kinds of happy there are. So I have positive memories of that and I miss the fans and so doing these autograph signings and seeing these people that I’ve seen for the past 7 years is the coolest thing in the world to me, so it’s nice to kinda see them again. But he [Punk] is very okay without the crowds.”

Going off that, it doesn’t seem very likely we will ever see Punk in a wrestling ring again.

Away from WWE

CM Punk in his UFC 203 debut – via John David Mercer/USA Today

Since Punk left in early 2014, he has taken on many other jobs. Other than professional wrestling. In fact, since the 2014 Royal Rumble, Punk hasn’t stepped foot in a wrestling ring. At least not publicly.

Punk very famously made his UFC debut in September of 2016. Losing in just over two minutes to Mickey Gall, via submission. Since the loss though Punk has stated that his UFC days are not over and that he plans on getting back in the octagon again.

Aside from MMA work, Punk has also acted in a few reality TV shows and has written for Marvel Comics.

Punk has stated that he is the happiest he’s ever been, since leaving WWE, and has no plans on returning. He said in AOW that wrestling made him miserable. Most of that stemmed from the injuries he had suffered while with the company. Most of which he wasn’t given proper time to rehab from before returning to the ring. But he said in the interview, that some of that was on him.

Time Heals All Wounds

Those four words are the “battle cry” of every CM Punk fan when they wish for a return. But in this case, I’m not sure if anything can heal these wounds.

The WWE, by mistake or not, fired Punk on his wedding day. That’s something you can’t just forgive and forget. (Screwing someone over in their hometown is a different story. That’s forgivable.) If it were me in that situation, I could never entertain the thought of joining that company again. It takes a special kind of horrible person to pull something like that.

Not to mention Punk appears to be ecstatic since he left WWE. And if wrestling truly does make him miserable. Then why would he return to that? It’s why he walked away in the first place. He didn’t love it anymore.

Maybe things have changed. And maybe Punk has found his love for the business again. But it sure doesn’t sound like it. So, as much as this may hurt some, Punk will probably never return to the WWE. It’s something we just need to accept and move on from.

Don’t get me wrong I wish, and hope, Punk would return. I just don’t see it happening. At least not as a wrestler. Years from now, much like Bret Hart did, Punk may return as an ambassador of sorts. But we will, probably, never see Punk in a WWE ring again.

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Surveillance Video Shows Conor McGregor Smash Phone

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In a new video released by TMZ Sports, UFC star is shown knocking a phone down and smashing it in front of the Fountainebleau hotel located in Miami, Florida.

In true McGregor fashion, he followed up the destruction of the phone by doing his famous “billionaire strut.”

McGregor got into an altercation with Ahmed Abdirzak who was following and filming McGregor with his cell phone while McGregor and his entourage were leaving the hotel.

McGregor reportedly extended his hand to offer a hand shake, only to pull it back and smack the phone out of Abdirzak’s hand and proceeding to stomp on it.

After a few stomps, McGregor picks up the phone and walks away. He was later arrested, that same day, and has been charged with felony robbery and misdemeanor criminal mischief, which could land him in prison for up to 6 years.

McGregor has pled not guilty on all charges and is scheduled for trial beginning in May.

Abdirzak filed a lawsuit against McGregor stemming from the incident, but dropped his suit after the two sides worked out a settlement.

Abdirzak was reportedly demanding north of $15,000.

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INTERVIEW: John Kavanagh Talks Brave CF 13 in Belfast, Frans Mlambo’s Title Fight and SBG Ireland

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Renowned head coach of SBG Ireland, John Kavanagh has helped put Irish MMA on the map. With his star student and multiple time UFC champion, Conor McGregor taking over the MMA world, the two have opened up unlimited doors for the rest of the team.

Today, Kavanagh is leading some of the younger generation to world title fights and global organisations. On June 9th, one of his promising young fighters, Frans Mlambo will get a shot at gold when he takes on Stephen Loman for the Brave Combat Federation bantamweight title.

The two met back in the promotion’s first ever show in Bahrain when Loman picked up a unanimous decision win over Mlambo. It was a learning experience for the young South African who has picked up 3 straight finishes since. Kavanagh is confident that the former IMMAF world champion, Mlambo has all the tools to become champion.

Also competing on the Brave CF 13 card from SBG Ireland, is Cian Cowley (0-1) who takes on Daniel Olejniczak (2-1-1) and Tommy Martin (6-4) who takes on Wales’ Aidan James (1-0).

I spoke to John Kavanagh on the upcoming Brave CF 13 show, Mlambo’s improvements and the team’s preparation for their upcoming bouts. Check out the interview below.

Farah Hannoun: Brave Combat Federation are making their first trip to Europe, you’ve witnessed the organization’s growth so how excited are you to see them go to Belfast?

John Kavanagh: Brave is fast becoming one of the world’s biggest MMA shows so it’s of course great to have them visit Ireland. However, I would have preferred Dublin because that’s my hometown.

Farah Hannoun: Frans Mlambo is headlining the event, with a record of 5-2, he’s practically grown up in the cage, how proud are to see him turn things around with 3 straight finishes since losing to Loman the first time?

John Kavanagh: He’s earned that title shot with exciting finishes both by submission and KO. He’s finding his way in the cage nicely now.

Photo by Brave CF

Farah Hannoun: What adjustments has Mlambo made since the first fight with Loman? What do you feel like went wrong the first-time round?

John Kavanagh: His grappling was too weak back then. He’s one of the best strikers I’ve ever seen and now his grappling is catching up. Frans is one of the top 135lb fighters in the world.

Farah Hannoun: Cian Cowley is set to make the walk for the second time in his pro career when he takes on Daniel Olejniczak, in light of the legal issues he’s had the misfortune of dealing with, how hard was it for him to put all that aside and focus on the fight?

Photo by Severe MMA

John Kavanagh: Cian is very mature and focused. It’s not a problem for him to block out what’s going on outside.

Farah Hannoun: Also competing from SBG, is Tommy Martin who’s looking to bounce back when he takes on Aidan James, how’s he been looking at the gym and what can we expect from him?

John Kavanagh: Tommy is a technician. Clean striking, one of best doubles on my team and tidy on the ground. His opponent is similar, solid technician. This fight will be very interesting for those who like nice technique.

Farah Hannoun: You’ve played a massive role in the growth of Irish MMA, SBG and Conor McGregor. The impact that you and Conor have had has resulted in a lot of opportunities and a spotlight on the guys at the gym. Does the idea that people have the perception that the SBG guys get “special treatment” or extra opportunities bother you?

John Kavanagh: No, we’ve earned it 😉

Farah Hannoun: You must be really proud, bringing up a talent such as Frans from his IMMAF world champion days to now him getting a title shot at Brave CF, what are your thoughts on Frans as an individual and a fighter?

John Kavanagh: One of few 135lbs in the world with genuine 1 punch KO power. A very good singer and cook too!

Farah Hannoun: You wrote a mega successful book, Win or Learn, which is even a quote that people have been using a lot when competing in MMA. Your best-selling book was even translated to multiple languages and sold internationally which is incredible. Did you expect the book to be so successful when writing it and do you have plans on writing another one someday?

Photo via John Kavanagh Twitter

John Kavanagh: No, I thought maybe my mother would buy a few copies and that’d be it haha. I believe almost 50,000 sold worldwide and talk of a movie adaptation. It’s crazy. Maybe one more book when I’m retired.

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After his impressive finish over Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, Vicente Luque eyeing Darren Till

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When Luan Chagas was forced out of his fight versus Niko Price at UFC Sao Paulo, The UFC called Vicente Luque and he happily accepted.

He stepped in on short notice and took out one of the toughest surging welterweights in Niko Price.

He hurt Price with a counter right before locking in one of his favourite submissions, the D’arce choke. This marked Luque’s 5th win in 6 UFC outings making him one of the brightest young stars in the division.

“I wanted to go out there and have an impressive fight,” Luque said.

“I thought that was very important especially that I was coming off a 4 fight win streak then I had a loss so I wanted to keep that momentum. I think I did that and it definitely puts me back where I was before going after those top 15 guys.”

He now turns his attention to a fellow rising star, Darren Till. Till took out Cowboy Cerrone in the first round last month in Gdansk and Luque feels he would match up well with him.

“I would really like to fight Darren Till,” Luque said. “He’s a great striker and his last fight was really impressive against Cowboy. I’m a striker as well and I would love to test my striking and see who the best striker in the division is.”

Photo by Jeffrey Basinger

And should the UFC decide to go a different direction, Luque would be content fighting anyone in the top 15. With 5 wins and 5 finishes in the division, he feels he’s earned a high ranked opponent or a big name.

“I want a top 15 opponent for sure but if they don’t give me that I’ll be looking for someone with a big name,” Luque said. “Guys like Alan Jouban who already have a name and everybody knows who they are. Those are the guys that I want to be fighting.”

Another name Luque is interested in is Colby Covington who fought on the same card as him. Covington took out former title challenger Demian Maia and proceeded to cut a heavy promo, blasting the Brazilian crowd.

Covington’s harsh and controversial comments towards Brazil didn’t sit well for Luque who sees multiple benefits of fighting him.

“I definitely think that was disrespectful not only to Brazilians but to anybody that watches MMA,” Luque said. “I don’t think that’s the posture of an athlete. I don’t take it personally but I would love to fight him no matter what whether he was disrespectful or not because he’s a top contender.”

The welterweight division is arguably the most talked about division. With rising stars such as Darren Till, Kamaru Usman, Colby Covington and Mike Perry, Luque feels like his name should be thrown in the mix too.

“I think I’m getting up there and slowly getting my spot. I’m having good fights and I know what I’m capable of and that’s what I’m trying to show. I’m doing my thing and I feel that my fights speak for themselves.”

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