WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle has revealed that he turned down contracts from UFC twice.
Angle recently spoke with Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful and told the story of choosing TNA over UFC in 2006. He said:
“It got pretty serious in 2006 after I left WWE. I flew out to meet with Dana White. He offered me a contract. It was a really good contract and at that time, I’d just signed with TNA. I didn’t want to ruffle the feathers by telling TNA, ‘Listen, I’m gonna go MMA.’ Because Dana White, when I signed my deal with TNA, said, ‘Well, you can’t do both. You have to do one or the other. You can’t do both.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m going part-time in TNA. I can do both.’ He said, ‘I can’t have you do both. I need you full time.’
“So, I had to decide and I’d already signed with TNA. So, it was like, oh well. I might as well continue. In the back of my mind I was saying to myself, ‘I broke my neck five times already. I know my strength isn’t at 100%. My upper body strength, I lost about 40% strength in my arms, my shoulders. I have trouble with motor skills in my fingers.’ So, my neck was probably the reason why I didn’t follow through with MMA.”
Kurt Angle also turned down UFC in 2010 because he didn’t think his body was up for MMA.
“I did, in 2010, I went back to Dana and he offered me another contract. But when I sat home and thought about it, at that point I was forty years old. I knew that my body wasn’t gonna hold up for MMA. So, I turned down the contract again, unfortunately. I feel bad. Going out and seeing Dana White again. He invited me out again and offered me another deal and I actually turned it down, unfortunately. But I think I made the right move.”
Kurt Angle returned to WWE in 2017 where he wrestled sporadically until his retirement in 2019.