During his interview with PWInsider, Kurt Angle revealed that his first choice after winning an Olympic gold medal was to pursue a career with the UFC. Here’s what he had to say:
No, that’s where I wanted to go. I got a deal from UFC in ’97 and it was so bad, and the crazy thing is it was the most they ever paid anyone, or offered anyone, it was a 10 fight deal for $150,000 so it was 15 grand a fight. There was no way in hell I was going to do that. But that was back then before Dana White and they were trying to keep it afloat so I went the WWE route but I kept my eyes on UFC and in 2003 I was really considering going over there. I started training at the Pittsburgh Fight Club, I was really debating doing MMA and I broke my neck again so that was the second time, first time was before the Olympics, second time was in 2003. When I healed from that broken neck and I had the surgery and I healed, I lost a lot of strength in my arms, and I lost a lot of size in my arms, I’ll give you a good example, I did that thing in Tough Enough with that kid, those kids, one kid was Puder, and he got my arm, there was nothing I can do. I was in no condition to be in that position. At the time I couldn’t do 3 push ups. I was so weak and I wasn’t sure why they wanted me to do it but I went ahead through with it. And when I did that, I realized – OK, you are where you need to be – in the WWE. You love this business, you don’t have to go off and fight and try and be UFC Champion, because that time passed you [laughs], so I did revisit it in 2006, and Dana White flew me out there and we got a deal structured and he was great, he was an awesome individual, he offered me great money, and I just signed with TNA and I had to make a decision, Dana said “You can’t do both,” because I was going to try and do both, I was going to TNA part time and UFC, and I just signed a deal with Dixie and I didn’t want to let her down, so I stuck with TNA but I’m glad I did it because I wouldn’t have done very well. I was only lying to myself if I thought I was going to be able to compete at that level with the way my neck was and keep my mind, I broke my neck 3 more times after 2003 so it was even that much worse. I mean right now, my arms are 14 inches – they used to be 19. I have atrophy in my hands, my forearms, my arms, my shoulders – it’s gotten really bad, so I’m just trying to stay in shape and I can no longer gain size. I’m going to be an average looking person and I’m OK with that, I just want to look in shape and feel good and that’s it, but there was no chance of me competing in UFC especially after I broke my neck in 2003.