Kurt Angle admits it was a blessing in disguise that he didn’t join the cast of The Ultimate Fighter.
As an Olympic gold medalist, Kurt Angle has proven one of the best in the world when it comes to the world of amateur wrestling. It comes as a surprise, then, that the star never tried his hand at MMA in the same manner as fellow amateur standout Brock Lesnar.
Speaking on a recent edition of the Joe Rogan Experience, Kurt Angle opened up about receiving a big money offer from Dana White to join the cast of The Ultimate Fighter in 2009 during Angle’s hiatus from IMPACT Wrestling. According to Angle, White wanted him to fight Kimbo Slice and offered him “substantial money” to do so, while most fighters perform for free in hopes of earning a UFC contract. Angle detailed his conversation with Dana White, saying:
“He said, ‘If you win, you’ll get a six-fight deal. And if you lose, I’ll probably still give you a six-fight deal because I think you’re gonna be really good.”
Why Didn’t Kurt Angle Join UFC?
However, when it came time for his physical exam prior to joining The Ultimate Fighter, Kurt Angle was unable to pass due to his heavy painkiller use. Angle says he’s glad he didn’t pass the physical as joining UFC could have had severe physical consequences on his already-ailing body.
“I’m glad I didn’t [pass the physical] because my neck — I had broken my neck five times until this point. I couldn’t do five pushups, and here I am wanting to fight with these world-class fighters, and my neck is so messed up … my arms … I can’t do pushups. I would have got my butt handed to me. I might have ended up getting paralyzed.”
Kurt Angle first turned down an offer to join UFC in the company’s early days in 1996, and he once again passed on joining the promotion in 2006 as he was unwilling to quit IMPACT Wrestling at the time.