Mustafa Ali Explains Why He Publicly Asked For His WWE Release

Mustafa Ali has broken his silence following his request to leave WWE earlier this year.

The "Raw" superstar handed in his notice to WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in January, which was ultimately turned down. It resulted in the 36-year-old taking a "sabbatical" from the company, leaving his career in limbo.

"I'm very comfortable talking about it," Ali told "WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves." "I believe private conversations are meant to be private. The reason it went public is because that private conversation went nowhere ... Anyone that's ever worked with me, dealt with me as a human being, knows how much I love this place. How much I love sports entertainment. How much I love wrestling. This is the only thing I ever wanted to do. For me to even get to that point, that's the issue."

"Everyone's judging the action. They're not judging the intention behind the action," Ali continued. "And again, there's situations that I can't publicly discuss, but that's what I would want to say about that whole issue. The only reason it got to that point is because there was no other option. It's incredible the things that you'll do when your back's against the wall and you're fighting for survival, and I wouldn't have done something unless I believed in it, and I still stand by that choice to this day, I did what I had to do."

The former leader of the ill-fated Retribution faction returned to television on April 25 and competed in a match against The Miz, but was later attacked by Ciampa. Ali has since once again become a regular character on WWE programming and has recently been challenging Theory for the United States Championship on house shows, with the two men nearly having a match on "Raw."

Ali signed with WWE in 2016 and took part in the first-ever Cruiserweight Classic tournament before finding a home on WWE's exclusive cruiserweight brand "205 Live". The former police officer was then moved to "SmackDown" where he took part in several prominent matches and storylines, only to find himself removed from television entirely until he was revealed as the leader of Retribution.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.