WWE´s Kurt Angle preparing for MMA debut
In a surprising move given his health issues (but perhaps not so surprising, given his past drive athletically), former WWE champion Kurt Angle is preparing and gearing up to compete in the world of Mixed Martial Arts, according to a number of sources.
Angle, who was released by World Wrestling Entertainment, has not had any contact with the company since the week of his release, after the company released a text message noting that Angle was in a bad emotional state following the meeting that led to his release.
Angle's manager Dave Hawk has contacted a number of media outlets in recent days, touting that Angle would make his MMA debut in 2007 and was in discussions with a number of MMA groups. Angle recently conducted an interview with MMA magazine Real Fighter as well, pushing his interests in competing in MMA.
According to one source, one likely opponent may be former WWE Tough Enough champion Daniel Puder, who has been making noises about fighting Angle in UFC next year. Whether Puder, a shrewd self-promoter, is attempting to drum up interest in himself among MMA circles or there is legitimate interest in bringing the fight to UFC remains to be seen.
Puder, who's contract with the California based MMA group Strike Force, recently expired, has a 3-0 MMA record. He's currently training with the American Kickboxing Academy, and weighing in at around 235, which is a heavyweight in UFC.
Another potential big name opponent that would create an immediately marketable fight could be another former WWE champion, Brock Lesnar, who is currently training with Royce Gracie for a debut with the HEROS MMA group in Japan. Lesnar and Angle had a memorable WWE feud in 2002, including headlining Wrestlemania in Seattle, Washington and a 60 Minute Iron Man match that aired on WWE Smackdown.
One possible setback to a "shoot" rematch of the Wrestlemania XIX main event would be worries that UFC (or another MMA group) create credibility issues by using "fake pro wrestlers" at a time where MMA is getting more and more legitimate sports coverage.
The flipside of that is that it's entirely possible that Angle's standing as one of the greatest amateur wrestlers of the modern era and a former Olympic gold medallist would overshadow those concerns.
There is also a major upside to Angle appearing in MMA circles, as the curiosity factor of such a high level pro wrestler could create great interest, ratings, and PPV buyrates, especially for Angle's first fight. Angle's potential debut within MMA would easily create major crossover interest among professional wrestling fans and give whatever MMA group he potentially fights for a chance to snare new fans, including those disenfranchised by current pro wrestling, for their sport.
The other major quandary would be Angle's health, given his past neck injuries, the muscle tears that led to the end of his WWE status, and the outside issues that helped lead to his WWE release. Whether someone as personally driven as Angle could compete in MMA circles today, at his age, as something more than a one time big event attraction, remains to be seen.
Angle had written at the end of his 2002 autobiography It's True! It's True! that he intended to train and compete once more in the Olympics, but later opted not to due to his injuries suffered while working for World Wrestling Entertainment. He's had a number of additional injuries since that point.
Angle also had a number of personal issues that helped lead to his release, including a suspension during the launch of the ECW brand. To compete in MMA, Angle would need to prove he is physically able to compete.
Since his release from WWE this past August, Angle has easily become the hottest commodity in professional wrestling with every major and minor outlet wanting to test the field of doing business with him.
WWEĺs Kurt Angle Preparing for MMA Debut - MMAUniverse.com