If CM Punk wants to give the UFC another shot, it won’t happen anytime soon with the former wrestler turned mixed martial artist out of commission for six weeks to compete on the upcoming season of MTV’s The Challenge: Champs vs. Pros.
Punk is one of 10 professional athletes who will compete on the show against “familiar faces from the long-running series” for a chance to win $50,000 for their charity of choice, according to MTV’s press release. Joining Punk in the athlete’s circle: Candice Wiggins, Lolo Jones, Shawne Merriman, Lindsey Jacobellis, Louise Hazel, Tia Blanco, Gus Kenworthy, Louie Vito and Kamerion Wimbley. The final male and female competitor standing from either side at the show’s end will “endure the ultimate test” to determine the winner.
“The game rules for the first-of-its-kind clash of the titans is as follows,” according to MTV. “Each episode will focus on a different strength (agility, ingenuity, brawn, brains, endurance and guts). Every week, the winning team’s captain will choose one member of their team to go into the elimination round, and the rest of the team will vote in their opponent. The losing team’s captain is automatically sent into elimination, and their team will also nominate their opponent.”
This is an interesting change of pace from Punk, who we haven’t seen much of since his loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203 last September. Punk said in February that he had been working “feverishly” on a UFC return with Dana White and he made it clear that he’s not done fighting even though his one and only UFC fight was short-lived. “I’m throwing names at Dana, opponents, dates,” he said at the time. “I don’t know if he’s waiting for a Chicago show or what the deal is, but if it doesn’t happen in the UFC, it will happen somewhere else.”
White, however, wasn’t as confident about Punk’s future in the UFC following his loss, saying he’s “probably not” going to fight in the UFC again. Punk’s decision to join The Challenge doesn’t automatically mean his fighting career is over, of course, but it doesn’t seem like the logical next step in his plans to get back into the Octagon. Maybe we’ll have a better idea of where his head is at when the show begins on May 16th.