Former pro wrestling star and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle says he would have “definitely” joined UFC back in the day, but his contract with TNA at the time wouldn’t allow it.
Angle, who won a freestyle wrestling gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics despite competing with a broken neck, made this interesting reveal on The True Geordie show last week.
“I don’t know if I would have been champion, but I definitely would have joined the UFC. I would have signed with them,” Angle said on the show.
“They contacted me in 1996, right after the Olympics. They offered me a 10 fight deal for $150,000. That’s $15,000 a fight. What it is now today, these guys are getting $16-18 million a fight on pay-per-view now, you know, Conor McGregor and Brock Lesnar and
Ronda Rousey. So I passed on it, and I started wrestling in 1998 with WWE.”
Kurt Angle would go on to do very well for himself with WWE, winning the WWF/WWE Championship four times, as well as the WCW Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWF Intercontinental Championship, WWF European Championship, WCW United States Championship and the 2000 King of the Ring. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2017.
Despite that success, Angle says he still wanted to compete in UFC.
“By 2000, UFC started becoming mainstream. I was like, man, I’d love to do that,” Angle continued.
“Literally half a year later, I broke my neck again, and that was it. When I broke my neck again, I lost all my strength in my arms. I lost feeling in my hands. To this day, I have no feeling in my pinky fingers and my pointer fingers. There was no way, even though I entertained it in 2006.”
Not only did Angle “entertain” the idea, he actually spoke to UFC president Dana White about making the move.
“I went to Dana White in 2006 and said, ‘Hey, I’m ready.’ He offered me a deal,” he revealed. “He wanted me to be on The Ultimate Fighter with Kimbo Slice.
“I said, ‘Dana, those guys don’t get paid to be on that show.’ He said, ‘Don’t worry, I’ll pay you a substantial amount of money just to be on it. I’ll take care of you.’
“I was getting ready to do it, and I ended up signing with TNA a week prior.”
It was that TNA deal that put a final end to his pursuit of mixed martial arts and the UFC.
“I thought that I could do both, which was crazy, it was stupid. TNA was gonna give me a part-time contract, so I figured I could train UFC as well,” Angle admitted.
“So I told Dana, ‘I just signed with TNA. Can I do both?’ He said, ‘No, you can’t do both.’ I said, ‘Dana, I have to respect this contract I have with TNA. I’ll come back to you if my contract expires in a decent amount of time and I’m still at an age that you want me, I’ll come back to you.’”
Kurt Angle’s story comes on the heels of another Hall of Fame pro wrestler, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, claiming that he almost went and fought in PRIDE, which, unlike with Kurt Angle who was once named the by USA Wrestling as the greatest shoot wrestler of all time, many MMA fans had a hard time believing.