The name CM Punk should register with most mix martial arts fans. Depending on which line in the sand you stand on, Punk is the ex-WWE guy that tried his hand at UFC only to be beaten up by real MMA fighters. Of course, there are those on the other side of the line that love the former WWE Champion and want to see in the octagon once more.
Truth be told, Punk makes more headlines these days for the things he doesn’t do or rumors surrounding him. In September, upstart wrestling company AEW was linked to Punk’s signature as they scramble for big-named performers. There have even been rumors of Punk heading back to WWE as the company needs a shot in the arm for its FOX Network SmackDown show.
While the rumors have swirled over Punk going back to pro wrestling, he is still under contract with the UFC. That contract probably means little to the UFC as the company’s president Dana White went on record saying Punk “would probably not fight for the UFC again”. With two losses in the octagon, Punk’s money drawing appeal is no more.
After two fights, Punk did appear for UFC affiliate the Cage Fury Fighting Championships in 2018 as a commentator. That was most likely just a way to keep him relevant and see if a career in commentating was possible. It doesn’t look to have been a success.
According to an ESPN interview Punk participated in during the summer of 2019, the fighter explained he is just “floating” in the UFC universe. There is little likelihood the company will ink him for another bout. Once again, there is nothing in it for the UFC to give Punk a fight as his money drawing power is gone yet they have no incentive to release him from the deal.
It has now been five years since Punk “retired” from wrestling. He left the WWE in 2014 and went on to appear on two highly controversial episodes of former friend Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling Podcast. Punk’s accusations pointed at the WWE’s medical staff, most just Dr. Chris Amann, landed him in hot water. Punk and Cabana were sued by the WWE doctor for defamation with the two potentially set to lose a fortune.
The lawsuit that Punk and Cabana fought against the doctor strained their friendship and resulted in them suing each other. According to reports, Punk was to cover the extremely high-priced legal fees that Cabana had incurred. While Punk had made millions in the WWE, Cabana was at the other end of the spectrum working the indies and hustling to make a living.
The duo incurred a $1.2 million legal bill to fight their defamation case against Amann. The lawsuit between Punk and Cabana was settled in September but it has damaged the former’s reputation.
While UFC may not want Punk, the WWE and AEW possibly do. He will most likely need to get out of his UFC contract first, but that could be possible due to a lack of interest from the fight company. Will 2020 see Punk back in the limelight for the right reasons? Anything is possible in both UFC and pro wrestling.