WWE commentator Corey Graves cleared the air on Sunday, speaking to Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp about the reasons why he called CM Punk out on Twitter in the aftermath of his loss to Mike Jackson at UFC 225.
As explained by Fightful, the so-called “beef” between Corey Graves and CM Punk was highlighted on Saturday, as the NXT wrestler-turned WWE color commentator fired off a series of tweets where he accused Punk of “abandoning” and “betraying” people who had once supported him and suggested that the 39-year-old mixed martial artist might have made a mistake when he “turned his back” on pro wrestling and joined UFC. He also replied to Twitter users who accused him of sucking up to his WWE bosses and not taking into account how miserable Punk claimed he was before leaving the company.
When asked by Fightful’s Sapp about rumors that Punk had threatened to end his friendship with several WWE wrestlers if they didn’t walk away from the company, Graves said that he had never heard of such rumors, and that he wasn’t aware of any ultimatum made by his former friend. He did, however, admit that he was shocked when he texted Punk about meeting up for dinner in the latter’s hometown of Chicago, only for him to say that he was “no longer [interested] in being friends” with him or with anyone else still connected to WWE.
Talking about the lead-up to CM Punk’s loss to Mickey Gall at UFC 203 in September 2016, Corey Graves said that he had texted Punk prior to the fight, but had gotten a “cold response.” At that point, he added, he was under the impression that Punk was suffering from a case of “pre-fight nerves,” but as it turned out, that was the last time both men had exchanged words with each other.
“He sent me the text shortly before his first fight. Part of me just thought he was in a zone and I didn’t take offense. I texted him the day of his FIRST fight something along the lines of ‘I know life is nuts, I still love you, good luck.’ Probably not verbatim, but you get the idea.”
Let me start by thanking @cmpunk for the opportunity, I’m aware I wouldn’t be here without him. As I’ve said in multiple times, and to the man himself, I have nothing but respect for Phil... #UFC225— Mike Jackson, Esq. (@TheTruthJackson) June 10, 2018
[Full Statement —-> https://t.co/KQYYk8gJno] pic.twitter.com/mu7OnpFJ6o
Graves then moved on to his most recent comments about Punk, telling Fightful’s Sapp that he was most affected by how his former friend seems to show “disdain” for both the wrestling business and the people who work in it.
“What really set me off was this week when he essentially disowned the business that made him. My only issue with him was that he turned off people that actually loved and supported him. Beyond ‘the business’ and he never wanted anything to do with us…yet continued to present himself as this ‘Punk’ hero.”
When pressed for more details on what happened this week, Graves chose not to provide any direct answer but confirmed that what upset him had nothing to do with Punk emerging victorious in the defamation lawsuit previously filed by WWE doctor Chris Amann. He also suggested that he’s not the only person from the wrestling business whom CM Punk has allegedly turned his back on and that there’s a “large group” of people who lost him as a friend because of the fact they remain connected with WWE.