Overeem laid into Lesnar — his first UFC victim — and Punk during an appearance Monday on The MMA Hour announcing his return to the kickboxing ring opposite GLORY heavyweight champion Rico Verhoeven.
Lesnar’s return to the WWE after a one-year layoff and Punk’s AEW debut were two big pops for pro wrestling this past week. But the mere mention of Lesnar prompted a dismissive diatribe from Overeem about sports entertainment that included homophobic language.
“The thing is with that whole wrestling thing, I watched it when I was 8, 9, 10 years old,” said Overeem, who faces Verhoeven on Oct. 23 under the GLORY banner. “Hulk Hogan, Ultimate Warrior, huge fan of those guys. Honky Tonk Man. Great, funny. Andre The Giant. I stopped watching after that, so I’m not watching since [1992, 1993, 1994].
“And just recently, I started looking again on YouTube, and oh my God, this stuff is lame. It’s just lame what these guys are doing. It’s fake. It’s lame. It’s stupid. It’s gay. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Overeem doubled down on his opinion when asked about the athleticism and entertainment on display in the wrestling ring.
“It’s lame,” he said. “It’s not even a sport. It’s just lame. It’s bad acting. It’s just lame. Sorry for all the fans of WWE, but I’m just being honest. I’m just giving my opinion. Free country, right? I think it’s lame, and because I hadn’t seen it for 20 years. I never watched Brock fight. I never watched CM Punk fight. I knew they were from WWE.”
Overeem insinuated Lesnar’s success in the octagon was the product of performance-enhancing drugs, saying it was “pre-USADA.” (After his UFC 200 comeback in 2016, Lesnar failed two drug tests by the anti-doping agency and was suspended for one year with his win over Mark Hunt overturned to a no-contest.)
Of his own past with MMA regulators, which included the denial of a fight license a pre-fight drug test revealed a 14-to-1 testosterone-to-epitestosterone (T/E) ratio (or 14 times the T/E ratio of a normal adult male), Overeem indicated it was a different story.
“I’ve been fighting 10 years in the UFC — it’s been nine years after my thing, so I guess that clears me of that, right? Six years post-USADA, so longer post-USADA than pre-USADA,” he said.
Despite his dislike for their craft, Overeem called the premature deaths of several pro wrestlers a “sad thing.” But he said the danger inside the octagon was preventable for someone like Punk, who had no formal MMA training when he signed with the UFC.
“Listen, why did nobody warn CM Punk what he was getting into? Of course, he can’t fight in the UFC,” Overeem said. “You should have been more honest. You should have warned that guy of what he was getting himself into.
“That man got mentally destroyed in the octagon. And if you look at his WWE stuff…I never watched his WWE stuff, but if you look at it, you can already predict it beforehand — this man is going to have a bad, bad experience in the UFC. He’s going to win, and he’s going to get somebody tougher, or he’s going to lose, and he’s not going to lose once — it’s always two or three times, and he could get hurt. That’s the even worse thing. He could have gotten really hurt.”