After a lifetime in martial arts, Bellator flyweight Valerie Loureda is making a transition to professional wrestling. The 23-year-old made the announcement in her recent studio appearance on The MMA Hour.
“I have now become the first Cuban-American woman (to sign with the WWE), and I am now a WWE superstar,” Loureda told Ariel Helwani as she tried to hold back tears. “I’m really excited, and I’ve dedicated my whole life to martial arts, and everything has come to this moment. And this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and entertain the world.
“I’m emotional because I’ve worked really hard in my whole life. I’ve had a very hard upbringing, and every day, I’ve always just believed in myself, and trained hard hoping to make it to the next step and just chasing a dream that I’ve had in my heart since I was a baby.”
Bellator CEO Scott Coker has been supportive of Loureda’s decision and confirmed that her contract will remain active.
“Valerie Loureda is a very young and talented athlete who can accomplish plenty in MMA for years to come,” Coker said in a statement to MMA Fighting. “But for now we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.
“She will remain an active and under-contract fighter with Bellator, and we look forward to welcoming her back into the cage in the near future. We take great pride in allowing our athletes to test themselves in additional arenas such as boxing and pro-wrestling.”
Loureda though suggested that she would likely be retiring from mixed martial arts competition.
“Yes (I’m done with MMA),” Loureda said. “My mind has completely shifted from MMA to the WWE.
“I love fighting, but this is my time.”
An incredibly driven young woman working hard in sport and business to make a name for herself and her family.— Triple H (@TripleH) June 29, 2022
Cannot wait to have Valerie start training at the @WWEPC and make her impact in @WWENXT! Welcome to @WWE! https://t.co/BWHPL1wahy
Loureda (4-1) last saw action against Taylor Turner last November at Bellator 271 and won via split decision.