On Wednesday morning, Ariel Helwani broke the news that CM Punk was going under the knife due to a serious back injury. Punk’s upcoming fight with the young, upstart Mickey Gall is going to be postponed several weeks, if not months. Rumors swirled that the original Punk vs. Gall matchup would take place at UFC 200. Now, with Punk’s debut date in question, and other big names like Ronda Rousey and Jon Jones likely unavailable, UFC must fill their biggest card in history with some sort of special attraction. Instead of making Gall wait for Punk later in the year, it makes more sense for Gall to take on someone else at UFC 200.
At just 2-0 in his professional MMA career, Gall is just getting his feet wet inside the cage. It made sense for Gall to fight Punk; who has never actually fought in an amateur or professional fight before. Considering Punk’s career record of 0-0, it seems that UFC may be willing to look at other celebs, with minimal fighting experience too. With UFC 200 looming, and Gall looking for a novice, yet famous fighter, we put together the top 10 potential celebrity replacements for CM Punk.
10. Ed O’Neill aka Al Bundy – It’s likely that O’Neill is the most experienced grappler on our celebrity list, with over twenty years of Brazilian jiu jitsu training. He actually holds a black belt under Rorion Gracie. In theory, with his extensive grappling resume, he should be ranked higher, but he is getting a bit long in the tooth. At 69, it may be difficult for him to get a fighter’s license. The UFC could always move UFC 200 to Texas though; they did sanction Ken Shamrock vs. Royce Gracie this year after all.
9. Mitt Romney– The former Massachusetts Governor and 2012 Presidential candidate is also a bit older (68 years old), but showed impressive striking skills against five-time world heavyweight boxing champion Evander Holyfield. In the fight, Romney scored a knockdown, but eventually lost because his corner threw in the towel. Getting licensed could be tough for Romney as well, but he has the money and political connections to get a deal done with the Nevada Athletic Commission.
8. Joey Buttafuoco– At a spry 59 years old, Buttafuoco is willing to throw down with anyone, anywhere. He is most famous for having sex with a minor; who later shot his wife in the face. Buttafuoco has spent some time in prison, but he has also boxed on network television. His boxing career has been brief, yet impressive; featuring a tough decision victory over the elite striker Joanie “Chyna” Laurer in 2002. Buttafuoco showed lots of heart and stamina, traits that could easily transfer over to the Octagon.
7. Guy Ritchie– Ritchie is most known for being the ex-husband of Madonna and the director of such films as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes. In addition, to being a big name celebrity, Ritchie has trained in combat sports since his childhood. He currently has a black belt in judo and was recently awarded a black belt in jiu jitsu, from legendary fighter Renzo Gracie. At 46, he does not have much time left to step into the Octagon. This could be his last, best chance. The time is now for Ritchie.
6. Anthony Bourdain– The famous chef, television host, and author is one of the biggest names in the food world. He has been seen on shows like, No Reservations, Parts Unknown, and Top Chef for well over a decade. Currently, he holds a blue belt in bjj under Renzo Gracie. Based on his culinary background, it seems that he could easily diet down to welterweight and give Gall a good scrap.
5. Steven Seagal – Mostly known for his acting, Sensei Seagal is actually a 7th degree black belt in aikido. Despite his acting career peaking in the 1990’s, Seagal has recently worked with some of the greatest fighters in MMA, like Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida. He can often be seen at UFC events and clearly has an affinity for MMA. This alone makes him as a good of a choice as Punk or anyone else on this list to fight Gall.
4. Ashton Kutcher– At 38 years old, he is an A list celeb, entrepreneur, and handsome guy. Starring roles included: That 70’s Show, Punk’d, Dude, Where’s My Car, and Two and a Half Men. In his personal life he was married to Demi Moore and has a kid with his current wife, Mila Kunis. When he’s not dealing with all that boring stuff, he also trains jiu jitsu. In 2014, he earned his purple belt under Rigan Machado. Furthermore, Kutcher has been to several UFC events and even wrestled in high school!
3. Joe Rogan – Actor, standup comic, radio show host, UFC color commentator and Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt are only a few of the job titles listed on Joe Rogan’s impressive resume. Rogan has done some amateur kickboxing and is a MMA expert too. With his acting ability and gift for gab he could build up a fight with Gall better than most.
2. Shaquille O’Neal– Clearly, O’Neal and Gall would have to fight at a catchweight of some sort, but this would be a fun matchup. O’Neal is a long time MMA fan and even boxed Shane Mosley and Oscar de la Hoya to decision losses. He has often talked about fighting in the Octagon and the UFC is looking for a big time name for UFC 200, so this could be Shaq’s big break.
1. Justin Bieber– The biggest pop star on the planet is a big MMA and boxing fan. So much so, that he has even accompanied the greatest boxer of this generation, Floyd Mayweather, to the ring on multiple occasions. Less known, is the fact that Bieber has actually trained boxing with Mayweather. Granted, Bieber’s training may be minimal, but Gall is only 2-0. It isn’t like he is some world beater. With a full camp, some added muscle, and Mayweather’s connections with USADA, Bieber could give Gall a real challenge.
So, there you have it. Like CM Punk, these guys are all famous, have a lot of twitter followers, and ZERO MMA experience. They are the ten best options to fight Gall at UFC 200. The UFC owes it to us fans to see Mickey Gall fight – he’s just too important!