On multiple occasions, Kurt Angle had talked about dipping his toes in Mixed Martial Arts in the past, but at 46 years old, he admits that his window for that is closed. Although apparently, the former Olympic Gold Medalist and WWE star almost joined the ranks of the UFC and had two offers from Dana White.
The current TNA heavyweight champ spoke about it during an appearance at the MMA Hour:
"I've had meetings with them all in MMA, World Series, Elite XC, twice with UFC. Whether it was the money or the timing wasn't right, it didn't happen. I considered going until I turned 42."
"I wouldn't even think about doing it now, unfortunately. I don't regret it."
According to Dave Meltzer, Dana White offered Angle a bout against Strikeforce vet Daniel Puder, after they had a tussle in a WWE reality show called 'Tough Enough'. The UFC thought they basically had Angle signed, and they already had an interesting back story to his debut as well:
"When I did that thing with Dan Puder, I couldn't even do five pushups, my neck was so bad," Angle remembered about that day in 2004. "He caught me with an armbar (actually it was a kimura; Puder got off his back). Thank God he pinned himself. It was a wrestling match, not an MMA fight, but the thing is he had me."
"Dana wanted to go with it," Angle said. "Not that I'd say Daniel Puder would be an easy fight, but I don't think he'd have been a problem, and it was big money. But I'd just signed with TNA three days earlier."
"When I met with, he wanted me to quit wrestling entirely, but I had just signed with TNA (the No. 2 U.S. pro wrestling company). I met with Dana the same week and he said I needed to quit wrestling. I couldn't tell (TNA owner) Dixie Carter I wanted to back out."
The next time he had negotiations with White, it was 5 years later for a possible stint in TUF 10:
"The second time I met with Dana, I took the physical," Angle said. "He wanted me to do The Ultimate Fighter with Kimbo. He was great. He was willing to pay me a good bit of money to be on the show. But he wanted me ready in four-and-a-half weeks. It just wasn't in the cards. I think it would have been great TV. He was willing to sign me to a six-fight deal after the show, but he wanted me on the show. But it wasn't going to happen in four-and-a-half weeks."
Years back, when White told the story, his claim was that Angle failed the physical, which representatives for Angle denied.
Had Angle joined that show, he would've made his MMA debut at 41 or 42 years old. He likely wouldn't have made a huge impact in the rankings, but combined with guys like Kimbo Slice, that season would've had even crazier ratings.
His MMA career never really came to fruition, but Angle may still have a future in the sport. As Meltzer noted, the former Olympic medalist is in currently talks for a TV commentary role with WSOF.