WWE Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle has finally lifted the veil on why he chose to forego a career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in favor of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). In a candid conversation with Dr.
Beau Hightower, Angle opened up about the financial aspects that influenced his monumental decision after his 1996 Olympic victory. Regarded as one of the finest amateur wrestlers following his gold medal triumph, Angle found himself as the focal point of intense bidding wars among professional wrestling organizations.
Among the suitors was the UFC, a rising star in the combat sports landscape during the late 1990s. Contrary to expectations, Angle opted to decline their offer, citing financial limitations as the primary reason for his decision.
"Right after my Olympic win, UFC approached me, pre-Dana White era, mind you. The sport was less regulated and frankly, more brutal back then. But what struck me the most was the financial aspect. They were offering a 10-fight deal for a measly $150,000.
It just didn't add up for me," Angle revealed.
Angle's WWE Leap
Instead, Angle signed with WWE in 1998 and made his debut the following year. His decision to join the wrestling giant proved fortuitous, particularly when he became embroiled in a storyline featuring wrestling royalty Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in 2000.
Speaking during a Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' session, Angle attributed much of his quick ascendancy in WWE to this storyline. "Working with Triple H and Stephanie early on was a game-changer for me. I owe a huge debt to them and to the creative minds behind the scenes, especially Brian Gewirtz and Vince McMahon.
Had it not been for that specific storyline, I might've languished in the mid-card ranks for years," he stated. By the close of 2000, Angle had already captured his first WWE world title, defeating The Rock at WWE No Mercy.
This rapid rise to stardom, coupled with his subsequent achievements, seems to validate his choice to snub UFC's initial approach. For Kurt Angle, the road not taken has led to a Hall of Fame career, cementing his legacy not just as an Olympic hero, but as a WWE legend as well.
And it all began with a decision guided largely by financial prudence and an uncanny ability to foresee his own market value.