On Saturday June 9th, CM Punk stepped into the octagon for the second time. For doing so, he faced criticism from fans that asserted he shouldn’t be doing it. However, with the support of UFC President Dana White, Punk again appeared on pay per view for the promotion and faced Mike Jackson, losing a three-round decision as part of the undercard for UFC 225. Punk was pleased by his efforts, which happened after 21 months off, and after doing the necessary diligent preparation to face a world class athlete like Jackson. Despite the result, many applauded Punk for going the distance and holding his own. This won’t be an analysis of the results of that match, or the divisions among the audience regarding the fight’s merits. Rather, this article will review how someone who is quite similar to Punk in beliefs, style and look publicly lashed out at him.
Corey Graves Altercation: WWE Commentator Voices Disappointment and Sadness To The Voice of the Voiceless.
Those who have watched NXT for a long time will remember that Corey Graves, during his time in the ring there resembled Punk. With his multitude of tattoos, his straightedge lifestyle, and his punk nature Graves was similar to Punk. In addition, his technical style was reminiscent of Punk’s in some regards. There were evident parallels between them as personas. However, those similarities aside, recently questions about their friendship behind the scenes have been brought to light.
Those following along on Twitter this past weekend will have seen that Graves sent out a series of tweets directed at Punk, and not in a favorable of manner. People may or may not have known of the past friendship between Punk and Graves, in fact. If not for this series of tweets many would have never known. They came at a time immediately after Punk lost a fight while pursuing something he became passionate about. His new passion, and focus on his aspirations lately, is UFC, and there he certainly had marketability that UFC recognized and capitalized on by putting him in his second fight.
In Graves’ tweets, he referred to the love he had and still has for Punk, along with his disappointment. These tweets have gone unanswered and unacknowledged. Graves states that Punk wants nothing to do with his wrestling ‘friends,’ that he has essentially turned the page on that past career completely and moved on. Looking at whom Punk follows on Twitter, he still has some wrestling ties. However, he apparently made clear to Graves that he wants nothing to do with anyone connected to WWE, including him. A popular belief among fans observing the drama is that the lawsuit brought against Punk and Colt Cabana by WWE physician Dr. Chris Amman, which Punk and Cabana recently won, could have been a catalyst for that. However, with no confirmation either way that is just fan speculation.
A number of those responding to Graves on Twitter have unfortunately charged him with acting like a petty child. That he was simply seeking attention because he no longer has ties to his old friend. We aren’t party to or knowledgeable about the situation, and there is likely a lot more to it. When Graves points out that Punk held his son before he did, it certainly makes clear there was a close friendship there than fans probably knew. It seems apparent that he loved Punk outside wrestling, and for that friendship to have been ended by the other party was evidently crushing to Graves. Unless Punk decides to respond or validate these statements, then there really is nothing more to it. Is Graves justified in going public? According to him, he approached Punk privately and was met with silence. As a result, it appears he felt he needed some form of closure.
It does seem sad that a friendship was ended for no other reason then who employs one of those involved. It could be that in Punk’s mind Graves is associated with the enemy, and that association supersedes any love, mutual or not that he had for his friend. Why was Graves so greatly affected by the severing of his friendship with Punk, where other friends from WWE have not made the same statements? It was clearly a very personal bond that Graves felt he had with Punk, and Graves is left to wonder why where he works is ground to end a friendship. During Graves’ series of tweets, he made clear that what he has said had nothing to do with the sentiments of Vince McMahon or Triple H, but for the friendship that was lost. Will they ever rekindle that friendship? Only time, which heals all wounds, will tell.