CM Punk couldn’t help but take a dig at his former employer.
Although Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, never specifically mentioned WWE or the company’s chairman and CEO, Vince McMahon, earlier this week while discussing his impending UFC debut, it still was easy to put two and two together. Punk has been critical of WWE since leaving the company in January 2014, and it sounds like his bitterness hasn’t yet dissipated.
Punk was asked Monday on The MMA Hour about his health status, as the wrestler-turned-MMA fighter has suffered various setbacks since signing with UFC in December 2014. The 37-year-old explained that he “felt like (crap)” knowing he’d be forced to back out of a potential fight with Mickey Gall because of back surgery but that he’s encouraged about the future and how his injuries have been handled since joining UFC. For once, Punk feels like his health is a priority.
“(UFC handled it) wonderfully, in my opinion,” Punk said on The MMA Hour of his back injury, per MMAFighting.com. “I was in with (UFC president) Dana (White) and (UFC chairman and CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta), and we were talking, and Dr. Sanders just came up and he goes, ‘Alright, here it is.’ He laid it all on the table for us. Of course, Dana lets out this big sigh, and he’s like, ‘Ugh, we can’t get a break.’ So immediately I go into, ‘Well, maybe there’s a shot I can get? Maybe I can do cortisone? Whatever.’ And Lorenzo and Dana stop me, and they went, ‘No, no, no, it is what it is. We just want you to get fixed and get healthy. We have shows every month, don’t worry about it.’
“It’s just, the timing sucked,” Punk continued. “I’m literally about to walk out and do this thing (at UFC Fight Night 82). And they were great. It’s hard not to compare and contrast to where I used to work before. It was just a relief to finally have a boss who was like, ‘No, no, just get fixed, we want you 100 percent, we want you to be healthy,’ — not interested in throwing a Band-Aid on a bullet wound just to parade me out in front of people. So it was a relief, and it felt nice.”
Punk, of course, has been vocal about the working conditions at WWE in the past, so his latest jab isn’t surprising. And even if it’s warranted — meaning maybe the conditions at WWE weren’t the best — it still seems a little unnecessary in this case, as UFC obviously is going to accommodate the former WWE champion in an effort to capitalize on Punk’s popularity. UFC already has come this far.
Let’s just hope Punk figures out a way to get into the octagon soon. There’s still no timetable for his MMA debut, but the waiting game is getting annoying — perhaps most so for WWE.