SZA's runaway success following her "SOS" album last year wasn't enough for the MTV VMAs committee to nominate her for Artist of the Year ... a move Top Dawg Entertainment deemed disrespectful enough to yank her from the show.
SZA was nominated for other awards, and was scheduled to perform, but as Punch put it ... "Why go perform and do this if she’s not going to be respected to the highest level?"
He says that's why he effectively terminated all things VMAs for SZA this year. As far as who's really beefing ... Punch says it's all him, not SZA, harboring the animosity. He says it's not in SZA's character to hold this kinda grudge.
MTV is boasting its highest-ever VMA impressions on social media, evidence they did something right with the viewing audience -- but it wasn't good enough to get SZA onstage that night.
We reached out to MTV for further explanation ... so far, radio silence.