UFC: Having Signed with AEW, CM Punk Officially Retires From MMA

CM Punk Credit: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Former WWE, and now AEW pro wrestler CM Punk has officially closed the book on his short-lived MMA career.

Well, that’s that.

Over three years after his last fight at UFC 225, CM Punk has informed the UFC that he is officially closing the book on his MMA career, and that he is officially retired. The news (which was first announced by MMA Fighting) comes off of the back of Punk making his return to pro wrestling in August for All Elite Wrestling.

The move by Punk closes the book on one of the strangest and weirdest UFC experiments. The promotion first announced the signing in December of 2014 at UFC 181, bringing Punk on the broadcast for a brief interview where Punk had zero info on where he would be training, his weight class, and so on.

Eventually, it was announced that Punk would be training with Duke Roufus at Roufusport, and was expected to make his debut in 2015. That date would be pushed back more than once after loads of injuries suffered by the former WWE champion. His debut was finally set for September of 2016 against Mickey Gall, after Gall defeated fellow UFC debutant Mike Jackson to get the opportunity against Punk.

Punk wound up demolished by Gall at UFC 203, with the wrestler battered on the ground before being submitted in the first round. Punk (real name Phil Brooks), despite showing zero actual martial arts ability in his debut, would get a second crack in the UFC at UFC 225 in his hometown of Chicago. That fight came against the man who also lost his only other bout in the promotion to Mickey Gall: the 0-1 Mike Jackson.

At UFC 225, Punk would fare better, going to a decision and doing some good work in round one, only to gas badly and end up dominated in the last two rounds. He would wind up losing via unanimous decision, a result that would later be overturned by the state athletic commission due to Jackson testing positive for marijuana — news that would not break until three years later.

Apparently, despite the two lopsided losses and showing no signs of competing, the UFC never released Punk. Despite his retirement, he remains under a UFC contract, and should he want to return, it would be in the UFC. He remained in the USADA testing pool throughout all of 2020, being tested on multiple occasions without issue. With his retirement, however, Punk has been removed from the pool.

Punk’s return to pro wrestling under the surging AEW banner last month was one of the biggest feel-good stories in that industry in years. Despite an 0-1, 1NC MMA career that stalled out of the gate, he remains an iconic figure in his original trade.