UFC 203 – CM Punk and Mickey Gall conference call recap: Punk discusses his fight, why he hasn’t cut pro wrestling style promos, the differences between the lifestyles, asked whether he will use “Cult of Personality” as his entrance theme

punk1The following are highlights of the conference call that UFC held with CM Punk and Mickey Gall to promote the UFC 203 event that takes place on Saturday, September 10 in Cleveland, Ohio at Quicken Loans Arena.

-The first caller noted that Punk has worked in front of big crowds, and then asked Gall about how he will cope with it. Gall said he’s fought in front of some big crowds before, just not this big. He said he has fought in front of roughly one hundred friends and family before. He said

-Gall was asked about the FS1 documentary on Punk. He said he has been watching it, and Punk and his wife seem like “cool people.” He also said the director Rory (Karpf) does a good job. He said there’s a difference between performing in front of so many people and fighting in front of them.

-Punk said nothing has surprised him about his venture into MMA. He said people say he didn’t know what he was getting into, but he did. He spoke about training at the best gym in the world with the best fighters.

-Punk said there’s a difference in him in the documentary and now is that he’s healthier. He said Mickey won’t be the same guy he was in his last fight, just as he won’t be the same guy from the television show.

-Punk was asked to break down what he found he was naturally good at. Punk said it was just absorbing anything. He said he has three head coaches. He said he trains with “killlers” with both current and former champions. “I was a sponge,” Punk said. He said this is about the journey and finding out about difference disciplines.

-A caller asked Punk about cutting weight. “It’s terrible,” Punk cracked. “I’m like above 200 pounds right now and it’s not looking good.” Gall said that’s good for him and he would get some of Punk’s purse. Punk said that if Gall thinks he’s getting any of his purse he is “f—ing crazy.” Gall laughed and said, “I figured.”

-Punk said there are people who want to see him win and some who want to see him fail. “You can’t get too far up your own ass and believing all the stuff that people say.” Punk said that to take a page from his old job, it doesn’t matter if they are cheering or booking, as long as they are into the action.

-Punk was asked how he feels just over a week away from his first fight compared to where he was two years ago. “If the sun comes up, then it’s a good day,” he said. He said he trains and works toward the goal. Punk said he’s just focussed on this fight. He said it’s premature to say this is one and done, but he’s wise enough to know never say never. He said he has more on his contract and looks forward to fulfilling it.

-Punk was asked to predict the fight. “I see my hand getting raise,” Punk said. “I’m not really one for making predictions… I definitely see myself winning, and if I had to pick I would say TKO.”

-Gall was asked if he’s signed to a multi-fight deal with UFC or if he will head back to the regional scene. Gall said his deal is longer than just this fight. He said he never wants to go back to regional. He said he is in UFC, he’s here to stay, and he wants to fight the best guys in the world.

-Punk was asked about his wife April’s involvement in the documentary and whether she had the option of not being in it. Punk said she’s the boss and she has the option to do whatever she wants. Punk said you can only watch so much training footage. Punk said he wants to talk about his dog because he’s the real star of the show. Punk said he was an open book. He said he did say no to some things and some things were more annoying than others. When asked to specify, Punk said there were a couple of family things such as putting his sister’s infant on camera. He said it was a little annoying to give access on Christmas “but I think we got some good footage out of it.”

-Punk said he doesn’t have to talk up the gym he trains at because the fighters who come out of there speak for themselves. Punk praised Roufusport owner Duke Roufus. Punk also said he’s a midwest guy and he doesn’t know if he could train anywhere else.

-A caller asked if there’s been enough back and forth between him and Punk. Gall said he thinks people are very excited about it. He said they weren’t going to “put on any…pretend to hate each other.” He said they are both excited about the fight.

-Punk was asked whether he’s avoided delivering a classic pro wrestling styles promo to promote the fight. Punk said he doesn’t see a need for it. “People either love me or that me already,” Punk said. He said he’s not trying to talk anyone into the building. He said they don’t need to create fabricated drama. He said they are going to fight and that’s the beauty of it. He said he doesn’t see them doing any shit talking this time.

-Punk joked that he was going to have a fourth man in his corner in addition to his coaches “but they don’t want Bret Hart in my corner.”

-Gall was asked if he can give any advice to Punk about dealing with his first fight week. Gall said he doesn’t have any advice. He said he thinks he’ll have fun. Gall said his last fight was the best he ever felt in a fight and it brought him a lot of confidence that he plans to carry into this fight.

-Punk was asked whether he can relate to Gall’s drive to stay in UFC rather than returning to regionals, and now that compared to Punk going from the indies to WWE. Punk said it’s a little bit apples and oranges. Punk said he was 26 and was always told he would never make it. He said when you make it, it’s harder to stay there than it is to make it. Punk said that in MMA, you simply win and no one makes the decision. He said no one takes it away from you because you wore the wrong pair of shoes on a plane or some whacky “bully bullshit.”

-Punk was asked what he learned from being in the corner of Anthony Pettis. Punk said he learned he had to drink his coffee in the hallway because it wasn’t allowed in the locker room. Punk said he was actually there the entire week, so he got to see what that’s all about. He said it’s about being relaxed, being with your coaches and team, and just enjoying the whole process.

-A caller asked if Punk’s been given any good advice from Pettis. Punk spoke about how he leads by example. He said Pettis lost three fights in a row and went to a lower weight division. Punk said it’s not about how many times you fall, it’s about getting back up.

-Punk said the number of wrestlers who responded to Conor McGregor taunting WWE wrestlers left him wondering if they were told to respond to him. He said he knew a lot of feelings were hurt, and he said you have to leave the emotion out of it.

-Punk was asked if he will be walking out to Living Colour’s “Cult of Personality.” Punk said you’ll have to order UFC 203 to find out.

-Punk said no one really tried to talk him out of fighting in UFC. He said it’s a mental game. He said there are guys who for whatever reason are great in the gym and don’t show up on fight night. He said it wasn’t questioned whether he could handle training camp physically, it was a question of whether he could mentally. “And now we all know,” he said.

-Punk said he and Chicago Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith discuss training and recovery tips, and Keith is big on visualization, which he will do on fight night.

-Punk said he doesn’t really care how he beats Gall. He said it’s not about impressing a coach, it’s about winning. He spoke about how there are so many variables and that’s why he loves MMA so much.

-Punk was asked if he wishes he would have made the move to fight five or six years earlier. Punk said it’s an interesting question. He said he tries not to lend credence to him being older. He said he felt older before his back surgery. He said a big part of him thought he wasn’t going to re-sign with WWE in 2011. He said he may not have gone straight to UFC and may have taken a different path similar to the one that Gall has taken. Punk said a lot of guys say that if MMA had been bigger then they would have gone in that direction. He said he’s actually done it.

-Punk was asked if there were any big surprises. He said it’s exactly what he expected with hard work as well as peaks and valleys.

-Punk was asked if his wrestling injuries hurt less today with time away. “No shit talk, I feel amazing,” Punk said. He spoke about not traveling, sleeping in his own bed, and not dealing with someone’s bullshit goes a long way. “I’m in the zone right now, everything is much better,” he said.

-Punk was asked whether moving to Milwaukee to be closer to train made things easier. “Absolutely,” he said.

-Punk was asked if he had any dealing with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva. Punk said he deals with him all the time. He said he’s sorry that he’s leaving and it’s probably one of the big changes coming with the ownership change.

-A caller asked when Punk realized that his story is becoming an inspiration to others. Punk said he’s not sure, but people say positive things to him all the time and it’s nice that they respond that way. Punk said it’s important that it inspires people.

-A caller asked about shooters in pro wresting. Punk said he knows everything there is to know about the history of wrestling and catch wrestling, but he doesn’t know where he fits in.

-Gall was asked who he wants to fight next. He said he wants to be UFC Champion so whoever he has to win. He said he might have a name to drop on the microphone afterward. Punk was asked the same question. Punk gave the plug to tune into the pay-per-view to find out.

-A caller asked about his relationship with Chael Sonnen. Punk said they still talk. He said it usually consists of Sonnen trying to get Punk to do his podcast, and Punk explaining that he can’t do podcasts anymore. He also said Sonnen was one of the guys who said that fighting is mental.

-Punk said he has spoken with Brock Lesnar on and off. He said Lensar offered advice and let him pick his brain.

-A caller asked about Gall calling out Punk after winning a fight. Gall said it was nothing personal. He said Dana White was at his fight and he wanted to take advantage of the situation.

-Punk said success is defined by the individual. He said he’s had a successful camp even though he’s had some bumps in the road. He said he wins just by entering the octagon, he wins again when he gets his hand raised, and he wins again when he gets to eat a pizza afterward.

-A caller asked if it’s been tough to take a calmer approach than he did in pro wrestling. Punk said it takes a toll to carry a company on your shoulder. He said he gets to be more relaxed and he doesn’t have to worry about pay-per-view buy rates, merchandise sales, etc.

-Punk was asked about the differences in WWE and MMA lifestyles. Punk said the big difference is not traveling. He said he’s not in a different timezone, doing media tours every Monday mornings, and trying to sneak in a workout before working that night. He said MMA is more singular focus. He said he doesn’t know how guys who are married with children do it in pro wrestling. “I guess that’s why the divorce rate is so high,” Punk said.

-Punk said he’s always been accused of not being athletic his entire life. He said people have always looked down on pro wrestling. He said it’s a motherf—er and you have to be a tough SOB to do it. This wrapped up the conference call.


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