Kurt Angle, an Olympic gold medalist, and a WWE legend has revealed that he has had chances to become part of the UFC, but never signed the dotted lines.
Angle rose to fame after winning gold at Olympics in 1996 in freestyle wrestling. He was soon roped in by the WWE where he stayed till 2006.
Recently, in an interview with Fightful, the WWE legend explained how his first meeting with UFC President Dana White went down.
“I flew out to meet with Dana White. He offered me a contract,” Angle said. “It was a really good contract and at that time, I’d just signed with TNA. I didn’t want to ruffle the feathers by telling TNA, ‘Listen, I’m gonna go MMA.’ Because Dana White, when I signed my deal with TNA, said, ‘Well, you can’t do both. You have to do one or the other. You can’t do both.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going part-time in TNA. I can do both.’ He said, ‘I can’t have you do both. I need you full time.’”
Another reason, as Angle puts it, to stay away from the MMA was his injuries. He had broken his neck five times and wasn’t 100% fit.
“My upper body strength, I lost about 40% strength in my arms, my shoulders. I have trouble with motor skills in my fingers.’ So, my neck was probably the reason why I didn’t follow through with MMA,” he added.
The wrestling veteran then stayed with the TNA till 2010 and had the UFC knocking at his door once again. At this time, the UFC had become a major MMA brand.
“I did, in 2010, I went back to Dana and he offered me another contract. But when I sat home and thought about it, at that point I was forty years old,” Angle said.
At this age, Angle was unsure if his body was able to hold up for MMA. So, he refused to sign the contract again.
“I feel bad. Going out and seeing Dana White again. He invited me out again and offered me another deal and I actually turned it down, unfortunately. But I think I made the right move.”
Had the deal taken place on either of the occasions, Angle would have arguably become a UFC great, or similar to Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar brought a lot of hype when he made it into the UFC’s heavyweight division.
After a grand entrance, the wrestling ace suffered defeat, but the aura he brought to the MMA arena was unmatched. He returned to the WWE though and is still under contract there.
Phillip Jack Brooks aka CM Punk is also part of the list. The former WWE legend made it to the UFC with a lot of hype and drama. However, he was defeated in a one-sided contest on his UFC debut.
Gable Steveson is the center of attention in the circles of combat sports nowadays. After winning gold at Tokyo Olympics, he has been offered contracts at multiple organizations. Your move, Steveson!