Why WWE Alum Kurt Angle Says He's Glad He Failed Physical For The Ultimate Fighter

The fact that an Olympic Gold Medalist like Kurt Angle never tried his hand at MMA remains one of the biggest "what ifs" in modern combat sports, especially since so many of his wrestling contemporaries — Brock Lesnar, Jake Hager, Bobby Lashley, CM Punk, and Alberto Del Rio — entered the realm of legitimate fighting at various points in their careers.

On "The Joe Rogan Experience", Angle recounted the time UFC President Dana White made him an offer to join the 10th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" in 2009, at a time when he was taking time away from Impact Wrestling. Angle revealed White wanted him on the show to fight the late Kimbo Slice, for which he offered him a "substantial amount of money" unlike other fighters who wrestled for free — with hopes of landing a UFC contract.  "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,'" Angle recalled. 

Angle's well-documented issues with painkiller addiction meant he didn't pass the requisite physical to secure a UFC deal. "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." As previously revealed by Angle, he also turned down a UFC deal in 1996 when the MMA promotion — in its early stages — couldn't lure him with a sizeable contract. Once again, in 2006, Angle was offered a UFC contract, but White was adamant that he'd have to quit wrestling for Impact, something the WWE Hall of Famer wasn't willing to do.