Former Olympic Champion and current professional wrestler Kurt Angle was talking about an MMA career recently on the MMAWEEKLY website. Though UFC President Dana White cast some confusion on some of Angle’s story by claiming the UFC had not made Angle an offer, many insiders know Angle has long flirted with the idea of MMA.
Fellow wrestler, former TNA announcer and former UFC title contender Frank Trigg is on record as stating that Angle has pursued the idea on several occasions. He has said that Angle’s competitive fire is known throughout the Olympic and the pro wrestling community, and that Angle is serious. Though the MMA reputation could enhance his pro wrestling career, and despite the fact that he uses gimmicky MMA type ankle locks in pro wrestling, Trigg will frankly tell you that Angle wants to compete.
Not mentioned in the MMAWEEKLY article is the situation circa 2006 where Angle’s representatives negotiated with the now defunct bodogFIGHT league. These were relatively serious negotiations I’m told, though it never got to the stage of a paper contract.
Angle asked for a monthly salary, of mid range 6 figures. He wanted 3 fights, and was even mentioned at some point as a potential opponent for Roger Gracie, who made his MMA debut for bodogFIGHT. As the MMAWEEKLY article mentioned, Angle wanted months of prep time, all th while getting his salary.
The bodogFIGHT group even went so far as to check up on Angle’s training for MMA specific action, and was able to verify that he was serious. He was training with an MMA specialist named Eric Hibler in western Pennsylvania, where he lives.
Now, Hibler might not ring any bells in MMA circles today, and his SHERDOG record is 1-3. One of his losses was to future UFC champion Jens Pulver, another to a very tough guy who is still fighting named Rich Crunkilton, so take it with a grain of salt. By all accounts, Hibler was very skilled, and he stopped pursuing his MMA career to work on his gym. Training with Hibler is another sign that Angle has seriously thought about MMA.
Now, Angle’s competitive fire has him actively training for the 2012 Olympics. Stubbornly he won’t completely rule out trying MMA.
It would certainly be after the Olympics, and of course a deal with the UFC will be hard to finalize, since both parties have different ideas of how to make it happen, but we still may see Angle do a few full fledged MMA matches. His competitive fire isn’t going to die.
What we would likely see is a tune up bout first, and then one or two big fights. I don’t think he fights for the UFC title, but a match with fellow wrestler Brock Lesnar, or a return bout for the legendary Randy Couture could be sold as some of the biggest matches in the history of MMA.
Kurt Angle is already a big attraction due to his pro wrestling fame and should he succeed in his 2012 Olympic bid, would be an even hotter commodity. I get a hunch FOX might like the idea of Angle fighting.