According to Santino Marella, his tenure with WWE ended earlier this year because the company chose not to renew his contract. No more, no less.
Appearing on a recent episode of the Main Event Radio podcast, Marella discussed his departure from the promotion during an interview with Ryan Rider.
"Because I was off with my injury, they had the option to extend my contract for as long as I was off," Marella explained. "At first they were going to do that and be extended until 2017, and instead they decided not to invoke their clause and have my contract expire in June 2016. And that was it. They treated me and my family really well. It was a weird day. I was about to leave on a trip to Florida with my wife and I saw the office calling. That was it; the run came to an end."
Marella retired as an active wrestler in 2014, before undergoing a third operation on his neck. He made sporadic appearances on television throughout the rest of 2014 and all of 2015, but did not appear on WWE TV at all in 2016 before the expiration of his contract.
"People come up to me in public all the time and say it isn't the same without me," he said regarding life after retiring from wrestling. "It's all the time that I hear this. Must be something to it that people are missing you. I was the real people's champion. I came from the audience, 5-10, not overly muscular. I see a lot of kids looking up to me. Every dog can have its day, miracles can happen. People related to it, they can visualize themselves as seeing anything being possible."
Marella still makes appearances at independent shows and runs a training facility in Canada that provides training in MMA and pro wrestling.