For years, it has been well known that Kurt Angle and the UFC nearly wound up working together. The Olympic gold medalist would no doubt have gone straight into MMA today, when the money is better, but when he was starting out, it was the WWE that eventually landed his services. However, over the years, he flirted with the idea of an MMA run, a subject that was brought up frequently when Brock Lesnar first made the transition to MMA. While many believed talk of the move was just Angle promoting himself, UFC President Dana White would later confirm that the two were in talks, but state at various times that a deal couldn't be reached/Angle couldn't pass the physical. Angle has now added a bit of detail to the story, stating that he actually came close to signing with the UFC not once, but twice. He also expands on his infamous "match" with Daniel Puder in the process. Speaking on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Angle stated that;
"Ive had meetings with them all in MMA. World Series, Elite XC, twice with UFC. Whether it was the money or the timing wasnt right, it didnt happen. I considered going until I turned 42. When I did that thing with Dan Puder, I couldnt even do five pushups, my neck was so bad. He caught me with an armbar. 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. Not that Id say Daniel Puder would be an easy fight, but I dont think hed have been a problem, and it was big money. But Id just signed with TNA three days earlier."
After the Puder incident, Angle stated that the next idea was to have him appear on The Ultimate Fighter, something that has been talked about for years. That was the season Kimbo Slice appeared on the show, and was eventually derailed by Roy "Big Country" Nelson.
The second time I met with Dana, I took the physical. 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 wasnt in the cards.
Angle also confirmed that any possibility of him jumping to MMA is long gone at this point. He recently re-signed with TNA, and defeated Lashley for the title in an episode that aired last week.
Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.