After putting the world of combat sports and sports entertainment on alert Olympic champion Gable Steveson has decided to join Vince McMahon’s WWE on a multiyear deal (per ESPN’s Mike Coppinger).
After winning gold in Tokyo, in impressive fashion, the freestyle wrestler sent feelers out to both McMahon and UFC President Dana White. According to Marc Raimondi of ESPN Steveson was given an offer by the UFC.
Raimondi’s sources claim the UFC wanted Steveson to gain MMA experience on the regional circuit before appearing on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series, the show where fighters compete for White’s attention for the chance to earn an entry level UFC contract.
Gable Steveson has signed a multiyear deal with WWE, Steveson told @MikeCoppinger.— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) September 9, 2021
Sources told @marc_raimondi the UFC wanted Steveson to gain experience on the regional MMA scene before potentially competing for a contract Dana White's Contender Series. https://t.co/WjNqbEuPkQ
It’s not that surprising that Steveson opted to turn down the chance to make a guaranteed $10,000 per fight with the UFC. Financial details on Steveson’s deal with the WWE have not been released, though they are expected to include compensation that is dramatically higher than an entry level UFC contract.
Of course, a WWE career also does not include getting punched in the face (for real). Though, it should be noted, wrestlers are subject to many of the same problems MMA fighters encounter, with high rates of injury, lack of collective bargaining and adverse health conditions that exist long after their days in the ring or cage are over.