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Why Others Have Succeeded at the MMA Crossover, and why CM Punk Won’t

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The subject of crossover athletes in sports continues to excite fans every time they hear it. It was just this past off-season it was LeBron James flirting with the idea of a test tryout with the Cleveland Browns.

One of the most common instances of this is men from the NFL crossing over into the world of professional wrestling. At Wrestlemania 11, it was former NFL star Lawrence Taylor headlining the biggest event of the year in the WWE Sports Entertainment Industry.

A few years later it was Dennis Rodman taking some time off from the courts of the NBA to try his hand at pro wrestling. One of his first opponents was none other than Utah Jazz legend the Mailman Karl Malone.

So over the years this crossover of high caliber athlete looking to earn some extra cash in Pro Wrestling has been a common one. However, as of late, things are starting to turn the other way and more and more pro wrestlers are crossing over into the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

Men like Brock Lesnar have excelled at this crossover. Lesnar, left the world of WWE for the NFL, but after that didn’t work out, tried his hand at MMA and did very well. Lesnar beat MMA legends Frank Mir and Randy Couture on his way to the heavyweight title.

The reason why Brock Lesnar did so well was because he had an incredible background before he ever set foot in a Pro Wrestling ring, thus, his background wasn’t from WWE when he got to the UFC.

He based his training methods and style on his high school and college pedigree. He was 33 – 0 in wrestling his senior year at Webster High School in South Dakota. Lesnar won the 2000 NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling championship his senior year after being the runner-up the year prior.

He finished his amateur career as a two-time NJCAA All-American, 1998 NJCAA Heavyweight Champion, two-time NCAA All-American, two-time Big Ten Conference Champion, and the 2000 NCAA heavyweight champion with a record of 106–5 overall in four years of college whlie attending The University of Minnesota.

All of this made his transition into MMA easier.

Current Bellator Heavyweight Bobby Lashley is enjoying the same crossover success that Lesnar did. Lashley was a former collegiate amateur wrestler, and professional wrestler. Lashley won three national college amateur wrestling championships between 1996 and 1998 and placed fourth in 1995 while attending Missouri Valley College.

He went on to fame in the WWE, but again, it was his amateur wrestling success that made him such a threat when he chose to enter the world of MMA. The point that I am trying to make is that the latest Pro Wrestler Phil “CM Punk” Brooks has a much higher mountain to climb than these two men did.

Brooks has all the charisma in the world and a very strong fan following to sell Pay Per Views, but when it comes down to being in the cage, all the talk goes out the window and it is strictly about skill.

I’m not denying that Brooks has a lot of heart and probably a nice amount of skill. However, I place the chances between slim and none that his MMA career will see a fair amount of victories in the cage. As a huge “CM Punk” fan, I truly hope that I’m wrong.

But in the words of the beloved voice of the UFC, Mike Goldberg, it won’t be to long until “it’s all over” for Brooks, and he is back to chasing that next big payday with the WWE.

Prove me wrong Punk. As a lifelong wrestling fan, please, prove me wrong!

Until next time fight fans, remember, No Blood, No Foul!

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com

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