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Last year’s podcast “pipe bomb” from CM Punk could ultimately be a costly one.
WWE senior ringside physician Dr. Chris Amann filed a defamation lawsuit against CM Punk (real name Phil Brooks) and Colt Cabana (real name Scott Colton) on Thursday in a Chicago court for comments that were made on “The Art of Wrestling” podcast last November that "repeatedly and falsely impugned his integrity" as a doctor. Dr. Amann is seeking more than $1 million in compensatory damages and an undisclosed amount in punitive damages. Cabana, the real-life best friend of CM Punk, is the host of "The Art of Wrestling."
The two-part podcast was the first time CM Punk spoke publicly about his abrupt departure from the company and one of the main reasons for quitting was alleged medical malpractice.
CM Punk claimed the WWE didn’t follow proper concussion protocol, rushed him back to the ring following elbow surgery and misdiagnosed a “fatty deposit” that allegedly developed into staph infection. Those accusations were directed in part at Dr. Amann.
From the Cook County Record:
Amann says all of the statements Brooks and Colton, both of whom live in Cook County, made, literally and in their implications, are false.
“Amann was not requested by Brooks to treat and/or excise a lump, let a lone a purple, baseball-sized lump,” the suit asserts, further alleging that Brooks never sought treatment for or showed him a lump and that he never prescribed Brooks antibiotics for a lump or concussion.
Contrary to the former WWE wrestler’s statements, Amann says he followed proper protocol by directing Brooks to leave the ring after a preliminary diagnosis of a possible concussion and even requested further evaluation and treatment in the training room.
In regards to Colton, who left the WWE in 2009 and hosts the weekly podcast that features interviews with professional wrestlers, the suit alleges he helped Brooks falsely depict Amann as a lazy and bad doctor by urging listeners to “hear the struggle” in what Brooks was saying so they could understand why he retired.
Amann claims Brooks and Colton “knowingly fabricated the false and disparaging statements” about him, knowing they would be heard by third parties, such as WWE fans and the media, given their celebrity statuses.
“In today’s day and age, any future employer may do a Google and they will see all of the disparaging comments that were made in the podcast as well as the amplification of those statements through posters and bloggers,” attorney Phillip J. Zisook told Yahoo Sports regarding his client, Dr. Amann. “Those statements have damaged his professional reputation and will continue to do so.” Zisook is representing Dr. Amann individually and not representing World Wrestling Entertainment in any way.
According to the lawsuit, the podcast was streamed more than 1 million times on YouTube and 10,000 times on SoundCloud. Since the podcast, wrestling fans have chanted “Z-Pak” during live shows at WWE medical physicians in reference to the antibiotic Punk claimed he was prescribed for the lump on his back.
Shortly after the podcasts, CM Punk announced he had signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC where he's currently training for his debut in the Octagon later this year.
UPDATE, 5:15 p.m. PT: The WWE released the following statement and video clip in response to the allegations CM Punk made towards the medical staff:
In light of CM Punk’s allegations regarding WWE’s medical staff and the subsequent defamation lawsuit filed by Dr. Amann against CM Punk, WWE continues to have the utmost confidence in the ability and expertise of our world-class team of physicians, including Dr. Amann.
CM Punk claimed this past November that during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event on January 26, 2014 he performed with a baseball-sized, purple lump on his back located near the waistband of his tights.
WWE’s investigation has shown the following:
· CM Punk did not discuss this alleged condition with WWE’s team of physicians and trainers, nor did he discuss it with anyone in our Talent Relations department.
· Subsequently, WWE has no medical records documenting this alleged condition.
· The first time WWE was made aware of this alleged condition was when we received a letter from CM Punk’s attorney on August 22, 2014 after WWE terminated his contract.
· There is clear video evidence from the 2014 Royal Rumble, which allows all to decide whether there is any appearance of a baseball-sized growth on CM Punk’s back.