Rumors had circulated for some time that Rashad Evans was interested in the WWE, but now they have been confirmed by Davbe Meltzer, who knows more jointly about the UFC and the WWE than any man alive. Meltzer also said that Chael Sonnen, Roy Nelson, and Frank Mir have also expressed interest, but that the WWE has strong reservations.
Add Rashad Evans to the list of UFC fighters who have recently inquired regarding going to WWE. Evans, who is almost 35, is recovering from major knee surgery and had talked about considering retirement even before that. Fighters who get to that point recognize that they need to plan for after fighting and WWE seems like a transition, but thus far we’ve never had anyone be successful at it in the U.S. except those who were pro wrestlers first (Lesnar and Ken Shamrock).
We’d heard his name bandied about in the company of UFC guys thinking about WWE as a future destination for years. I don’t know that he’s directly spoken to WWE, but he was talking to people in the pro wrestling business this weekend about the idea.
In recent years, people associated with Chael Sonnen, Shayna Baszler, Roy Nelson and Frank Mir have also tried to open up talks or we’ve heard very vague ideas suggested for Baszler at one point. In the case of Nelson and Mir, neither seemed to get anywhere.
WWE and Vince McMahon in particular, are leery about using former MMA fighters, particularly big stars, since they are used to huge payoffs and he doesn’t think they’d survive the schedule. Some of this comes from McMahon’s failed negotiations with Bob Sapp, who he wanted badly, but the negotiations never got past a certain point due to money and schedule. Plus, McMahon knows virtually nothing about the modern UFC scene.
With Evans, like Sonnen, age is also an issue. Sonnen’s name is the only one with some smoke, in the sense there are people who throw ideas regarding him out there although the impression we’ve got is any interest would more be as an announcer, and that would likely not happen now because of the controversy associated with his name. WWE doesn’t like the idea of signing novices who are in their mid-30s from other sports with the idea they come in with their bodies beaten up, and by the time they are trained, they may not have much time left.