Recently, Olympic gold medalist and NCAA champion Gable Stevenson has been the bell of the combat sports ball. The 21-year-old college athlete had his pick of the bunch as seemingly every major company was after him. Steveson shocked some in the MMA world when he ultimately put pen to paper last week signing an agreement with WWE. His agreement is the first of its kind and sets a historic precedent for college athletes.
In July of this year, college athletes were granted the ability to be compensated. Prior to this, college athletes were barred from making deals that we would normally see with professional athletes. Athletes are consistently signing deals whether it be with a shoe company, clothing line, etc.
Stevenson’s deal with WWE is an NIL deal, which stands for names, images, or likeness. This essentially means college athletes are able to use their names and likeness for compensation.
On the September 13th episode of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour Steveson cleared up some of the specifics of his deal. He will be going back to school at the University of Minnesota and defending his NCAA championship. After the NCAA tournament finishes, his three-year contract with WWE begins. His NIL deal also means he can appear on WWE television while still wrestling for NCAA. The historical significance of this blockbuster deal is something that can not be overstated.
While it is not known when or how Steveson will make his WWE debut, it is possible for it to happen at any point. Steveson will have a facility in Minnesota for his pro wrestling training which will include trainers from the WWE Performance Centre. Steveson is expected to skip over NXT when he eventually makes his debut.
WWE also signed Gable’s older brother, Bobby Steveson in August of this year. The 21-year-old has not closed the door on entering MMA and he certainly would not be the first to jump from the wrestling ring to the MMA cage. It is also interesting to note that Steveson revealed that Brock Lesnar played a part in his decision to sign with WWE.
Are you excited for Gable Stevenson in the WWE? Let us know your thoughts below.