For those fans wondering why UFC would sign CM Punk with an 0-0 record, the answer is simple. Every MMA company right now is looking to get the casual fans back. If this was 2008 when UFC was really hot then it would be unlikely that UFC would sign CM Punk. However, in order to get those casual fans back you need to get big names to draw them in the same way Brock Lesnar brought in wrestling fans when he debuted with UFC. Bobby Lashley has given a big boost to Bellator. Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer radio today that the CM Punk signing is “not the end of it.” The Stephan Bonnar vs. Tito Ortiz fight was game changing for the business. Meltzer said that you would not believe some of the stuff that is going to happen in the next couple of weeks if certain negotiations happen. Right now the networks want interest so it’s not about signing guys that most of the public doesn’t care about.
The report in the latest Wrestling Observer newsletter is that there is a lot of interest from MMA companies in Alberto Rodriguez (Alberto Del Rio). Bellator showed a couple of weeks ago that the names that people talk about draw the most viewers. The Tito Ortiz vs. Stephan Bonnar fight proved that a few weeks ago on Spike TV. That show did record ratings on Spike TV up against the UFC pay-per-view from Mexico City.
Rodriguez trained with MMA fighter Marco Ruas and fought for the MMA Promotion “Deep” in the early 2000s. He would then sign with Pride Fighting Championships in 2003. Rodriguez has a 14-9 MMA record with 2 of those wins by knockout and 7 of those wins by submission. If Rodriguez signs with Bellator or UFC then that would be the third former WWE Champion to sign with a major MMA company. Rodriguez’ settlement with WWE is similar to CM Punk in the sense that WWE tried to put a non-compete in his settlement to block him from going to UFC or TNA but it was thrown out so there is no non-compete blocking him from starting with any other organization. FOX Sports writer Damon Martin noted on twitter that Rodriguez is itching to fight.
Rodriguez was in Mexico last night. Before UFC 181 started Rodriguez was asking fans on twitter last night to help him find a way to watch the show in Guadalajara.
— Alberto El Patron (@VivaDelRio) December 7, 2014