WWE Signs Top Bellator Star

Following in the footsteps of Brock Lesnar, Ronda Rousey, and other MMA athletes-turned-professional wrestlers, Bellator's Valerie "Master" Loureda has signed with WWE.

As reported by ESPN, Loureda is a 23-year-old MMA fighter with a 4-1 record and is set to report to the WWE Performance Center on July 19th. Loureda was initially reluctant, but was talked into attending this year's WrestleMania by her agent, and immediately latched on to the elaborate spectacle, comparing it to the Super Bowl. Loureda said that she got the same goosebumps from seeing WWE for the first time as she did the first time she saw MMA.

Loureda had a tryout with WWE in April and early May, and according to ESPN, she called her manager crying, saying she didn't want to leave. "I just want to get better," Loureda told her manager, not wanting to miss out on any training. Loureda is hoping to be on "WWE NXT" by the end of the year.

According to ESPN's sources, WWE officials were impressed with Loureda, referring to her as a "high-ceiling talent." News of WWE's interest in the star broke earlier this month.

According to Bellator president Scott Coker, the Taekwondo fighter will still remain under contract to Bellator, as the promotion feels she has potential to be a big star in MMA. In a statement to ESPN, Coker said "She will remain an active and under contract fighter with Bellator, and we look forward to welcoming her back into the cage in the near future. We take great pride in allowing our athletes to test themselves in additional arenas such as boxing and pro wrestling."

Making her professional MMA debut in 2019, Loureda is a member of American Top Team, the MMA team founded by AEW's Dan Lambert. Loureda last fought for Bellator on November 12th of last year, where she won a split decision against Taylor Turner.