The MMA Hour CM Punk Tony Khan Screen grab: ‘The MMA Hour’

CM Punk appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani on Monday afternoon.

And while there had been plenty of speculation about what Punk would — or wouldn’t — be able to say, any non-disclosure agreement he has previously signed didn’t stop him from discussing his departure from AEW and his thoughts on the company’s owner/founder, Tony Khan.

When asked about the circumstances surrounding his firing from the company last fall, CM Punk detailed a disagreement he had with fellow wrestler Jack “Jungle Boy” Perry in the weeks leading up to the All-In pay-per-view in London last August. After Punk successfully dissuaded him from using real glass during a segment on a previous show, Perry wound up using it at the pay-per-view before sending a thinly veiled message to Punk on-camera.

According to Punk, he then urged Khan to handle the situation backstage, which the AEW owner declined to do. CM Punk admitted that he and Perry were then involved in a physical altercation — “I didn’t punch anybody. I just choked somebody a little bit,” he said — before turning his attention to his boss.

“I turned to Tony, and I said, ‘This place is a f***ing joke, man. You’re a clown. I quit,'” Punk told Helwani.

Punk would wrestle his match against rival Samoa Joe on the show before returning backstage and ultimately leaving the venue. Nearly a week later, Khan announced that AEW had fired Punk for cause, and he made his return to the rival WWE less than three months later.

CM Punk also went on to address “Brawl Out” — a real-life backstage altercation that reportedly took place between himself and AEW wrestlers/executive vice presidents The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks) following a pay-per-view in August 2022. While Punk admitted that he was under an NDA for that situation, he said that Khan was the person who requested it be signed and maintained that he did nothing wrong.

While he referred to Khan as a “nice guy,” Punk made it clear on multiple occasions that he doesn’t have a high opinion of him as a boss and even told him, “This isn’t a real company” as he asked for his release following the Brawl Out incident. Asked by Helwani whether he thinks AEW is sustainable, the Chicago native furthered the notion that the company’s business model is dependent on Khan’s willingness to personally fund it.

“It’s always going to exist as long as Tony wants to put money into it,” Punk said.

[The MMA Hour]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.