Kurt Angle on MMA Career: ‘I’m not going to fight’

Mar 21, 2016 - by Steve Gerweck


Kurt Angle was a guest on The LAW: Live Audio Wrestling this week to promote his appearance for the Wrestlecentre promotion in Halifax this April.Angle discussed his recent departure from TNA and his decision not to compete in mixed martial arts for Bellator MMA. This week’s show is available at http://fightnetwork.com/news/6551109:march-20-edition-of-the-law-feat-kurt-angle-ur-fight-review/.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

Leaving TNA

Kurt: I did this on purpose. I needed a break. I’ve been under contract for the past 17 years and didn’t have much time to spend with my family. I just wanted to do my own thing for a year. I finished up my contract with TNA, I was really happy with my career there, very happy with my career in WWE. I really don’t have much else to prove, I’m not going to be retiring though. I will be coming back to wrestling eventually.

Kurt: I’ve been signing contracts mainly because of the money. Thank god, the money has always been good for me. WWE and TNA, they’ve both treated really well but I just got to the point where I wanted to do my own thing for a little while. I didn’t want to be obligated to going anywhere, I wanted to do my own thing and see how that goes, see where it takes me. I also wanted to start working on my acting career, I signed with an agency, APA in Hollywood. I’ve been doing some reads, just doing my own thing. I like it, it’s good to be off and not have to worry about showing up somewhere every week.

Advice for TNA

Kurt: They’ve always been looking for former WWE talent, former WCW talent, any big name of the past. In the last couple of years, they’ve been learning that the only way to make that company work is to create their own talent and they’ve been able to do that. You look at someone like Eric Young or EC3, they’re guys that they actually build up themselves and it wasn’t happening for years. The talent they were creating, there were a few great ones like Samoa Joe and AJ Styles, but then it got stagnant. There wasn’t much talent being created in TNA, they were always just looking for the next star that left another company. I was one of them, Sting was one of them. We were the faces of that company for years. It’s hard, you go from Spike to Destination America to Pop TV, three networks in a little under a year and a half. It’s tough on the wrestlers, it’s tough on the company. They just have to find their sync, hopefully Pop TV will continue to do what their doing with promoting TNA but it’s going to take a while. I’m confident they can do it, it’s going to come down to John Gaburick who’s in charge of talent relations, he’s doing a pretty good job. He was a producer in WWE. He’s doing a good job, you’re seeing talents starting to come through. The Miracle is doing a good job, EC3, Drew Galloway, Bram. You’re seeing talent that was formerly from WWE, their training ground NXT, you can legitimately say that TNA has created them because they never really made it on the main roster of WWE. Now they’re big names in TNA and that’s what TNA has to continue to do.

WWE Return

Kurt: We’ll see what happens. I haven’t talked to TNA or WWE about doing anything in the future. I want to take this whole year off but I will start talking negotiations in the fall. We’ll see what happens but yes, it does feel good. I heard about Pittsburgh, I didn’t really watch but I heard they were chanting we want Angle. I saw a lot of tweets going out there, I do believe I started trending that night. I’m sure that was quite a surprise to WWE. I know that the fans wants me back, I understand. I had a great career there, it’s where I started and obviously a lot of people want me to finish there.

Thoughts on Bellator

Kurt: I really love what Bellator is doing. They believe that the company should not be built on the company name. You look at UFC, UFC says hey we’re coming to Toronto, who’s on the card, it doesn’t matter because we’re UFC. Bellator says hey we’re coming to Toronto, who’s on the card, we’ve got this guy and this guy and we’re going to build them bigger than the company name. They’re investing in talent, they’re investing in their names, they want to make their names big. It doesn’t matter to them if Bellator becomes a big name, they want their talent to become bigger than the company and I think that’s tremendous. They’ve taken a lot of incredible chances, when you saw Shamrock fight Kimbo, it was a great fight. Who would’ve thought it would be that exciting? The fight was phenomenal, Ken had him choked out but somehow Kimbo got out and knocked him out. They try it again and unfortunately, it didn’t work out as well the next time when Kimbo fought Dada and Shamrock got kneed in the groin by Gracie. They take chances, that’s what I like about them, they’re not afraid to do that. They’re using the older guys to make the younger guys more popular. They’re getting the older guys there to get the younger guys exposure. I really like what their doing. They’re letting their talent have sponsors and endorsements. Unfortunately, UFC kind of cornered them with the whole deal they have with their apparel company. A lot of fighters don’t have the sponsors anymore and I’m sure a few of them are pretty ticked off.

Working for Bellator

Kurt: I like Bellator, I like what they’re doing. I am going to work with them in the future. Scott Coker is great to work with, he knows what he’s doing. He’s been in MMA for decades so if I was going to have anyone be the front of the company, Scott Coker, you couldn’t find a better guy for it. I’m just glad to be apart of it. They’ve asked me to fight, I’m not going to fight. I considered it. At this point in my career, I wish I could but I can’t.

Kurt: It was tough. I thought I could fight Shamrock or Kimbo but I’m not going to be able to fight (Liam) McGeary. The kid’s in his prime and he’s a damn stud. For me to fight someone like that, I could’ve done it ten years ago but not now. Fighting someone like Kenny who’s still a badass today, I would consider doing that. At the same time, with the injuries I’ve endured, I’m okay to get in the ring and wrestle. I can put on a one hour ironman match but to compete in MMA at this point in my career, that would be just pure stupidity. I wouldn’t be able to go the way I want to. I know I can pro wrestle the way I want to right now but I couldn’t fight the way I want to. If I can’t do it to my expectations, I’m not going to do it at all. (Transcribed by Sam Pierce)

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