Gable Steveson has revealed the hate he’s received online for choosing to sign with the WWE instead of a venture into mixed martial arts.
Steveson’s future was one of the hottest topics of the summer. The 21-year-old’s stock rapidly rose after he won gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. In the freestyle wrestling discipline, Steveson defeated three-time and reigning World Champion Geno Petriashvili to secure his place on the top step of the podium.
In the months that followed his Olympic success, Steveson teased a move to various sports and promotions. Making the most of free agency, the newest combat sports sensation turned up at Bellator 265, appeared at a PFL event, and turned heads with a segment at WWE SummerSlam last month. He even flirted with a potential signing with the UFC.
But on September 4, Steveson finalized his immediate future. After productive conversations with Vince McMahon, the promising young athlete chose to join the WWE. And despite remaining open to a stint on MMA’s biggest stage later down the line, Steveson told Ariel Helwani on a recent episode of The MMA Hour that he’s committed to the WWE.
“As of right now, I’m 100% WWE. And I will forever probably be. It would be cool to hold the UFC belt, like I said before. I know there’s a lot of people on Twitter, ‘Oh, he’s soft. He didn’t want to go to the UFC right away.’ But I want to pave my own way. I don’t want to follow what no one else does. I don’t even read Twitter comments anymore. They’re just terrible.”
When asked about the negative comments he’s received on Twitter, Steveson revealed the amount of hate he’s received for favoring a move into professional wrestling over MMA. But like many Olympic wrestlers before him, the Indiana native believes he can capture UFC gold in the future.
“I’m just getting a lot of hate, you know? People are just like, ‘Oh, you want to go here and do this instead of actually fighting somebody? You’re soft.’ But you know how it goes. It’s typical haters. But I mean, if that time came, I would love to fight. I secured the Olympic gold in wrestling….why not go out there and get the UFC belt?”
After Gable Steveson announced his decision, the UFC’s plans for him had the promotion secured his signing were revealed. Reports suggest the 21-year-old would have been taken on board through a developmental deal. Similar to the agreement signed by Greg Hardy in 2018, the signing would have seen Steveson compete on the regional circuit before competing to earn a contract on Dana White‘s Contender Series.
But unaware of those potential plans, Steveson followed the advice of the likes of Daniel Cormier. “DC” had suggested that his fellow wrestler’s best chance at success was to follow the “Brock Lesnar approach.” According to the former two-division UFC champion, Steveson should make the switch to the UFC once he has made his name and increased his value in the WWE.
With the first part of that plan now in motion, it remains to be seen whether the bright prospect will enter the Octagon further into his career.
Who do you think Gable Steveson should have signed for? Do you agree with his decision to put pen to paper with WWE?