Mickey Gall very confident he knows the reason behind CM Punk's odd handshake refusal
When Phil Brooks tried to punk out Mickey Gall at the UFC 203 weigh-ins, the fighter fired back with the perfect retort.
The build-up to CM Punk's fighting/MMA/UFC debut was a long and thorny path filled with injuries, delays and unnecessary sideshows. However, the one positive about the match-up that both casual fans and purists could agree on was the respect both Gall and Brooks showed towards each other.
Both of them knew they needed each other. Gall was delighted to get an early call-up to the big leagues and a chance to make a name for himself by beating a legitimate superstar.
Brooks needed a fight, and since he had never had a professional or amateur one in his career, he was grateful to take on a young fighter with relatively little experience on MMA's biggest stage.
So there was no smack talk, no posturing and the pair were even smiling and joking with each other during their first staredown.
However, the dynamic shifted at the UFC 203 weigh-ins. After tipping the scales, the two engaged in yet another obligatory staredown. The difference being that this time when Gall extended his hand to the WWE star, Brooks refused it.
Gall wasn't impressed and began talking aggressively to Brooks, who continued to stare him down before doing a big overdramatic flex and roar towards the crowd.
Everything about it felt fake, and that's exactly what Gall thought of Brooks' antics when he addressed them during the post-fight press conference.
"I'll tell you exactly what I said. When he didn't shake my hand and he was giving me that hard look, I said, 'You're an actor. You're still acting.'"
"I said, 'We're fighting tomorrow. You know what's going to happen. I'm going to hurt you.' And then he kept staring at me as I walked off, I was like 'Keep looking at me.' That's all."
Sure enough, Gall was a man of his word and pummeled Brooks on the ground before submitting him with a rear-naked choke in the opening round. He believes that Brooks' lack of fighting experience was evident in how he handled himself during the weigh-ins, but he has faith in him changing in the future.
"I think it shows that he's still not a fighter to the degree that other guys are. Guys who've been through it. Guys who've really blood, sweat and tears, you're going to shake your guy's hand, you're going to give him respect because you know he's been through the same stuff. It's like a brotherhood. You're going to go in there and try to kill each other, but you have that baseline respect."
"He'll get that. It's a maturing process. He's a two-year guy. He'll learn."