News broke last week that Olympic gold medalist and NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling Champion Gable Steveson had officially signed with the WWE. Steveson signed the wrestling promotion's first-ever NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) deal, placing him under the WWE banner while he finishing his final year at the University of Minnesota. Steveson appeared on The MMA Hour this week with Ariel Helwani and shed some light on the deal, saying that it's a three-year contract that begins as soon as he graduates.
"I told them I wanted to go back and finish school and their number one priority was, 'you can do that.' And so I was like let's do an NIL, Name/Image/Likeness deal because it came out in July," Steveson said. "Vince (McMahon), Nick Khan and Triple H all said go ahead, win another national title. Regardless, everything will still be in place for you."
Steveson also mentioned his deal will allow him to appear on WWE programming while still in college. He mentioned that Minnesota was quick to sign off on the deal, and that the NCAA's current rules didn't restrict him due to WWE being sports entertainment rather than an actual sport. Steveson also confirmed that WWE is setting up a special training facility for Steveson on campus that will enable him to begin his pro wrestling training without needing to move near the WWE Performance Center down in Orlando.
.@GabesSteveson joins @arielhelwani to pull back the curtain on signing his NIL deal with #WWE:— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) September 13, 2021
"I can go on stage [in WWE] during my school year time."
▶️ WATCH #TheMMAHour: https://t.co/iYfFfwrghL pic.twitter.com/Nn2gfWRWsB
Prior to signing, Steveson had already appeared at a number of WWE events including NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver and SummerSlam. He later mentioned to Helwani. that he'll likely make the jump to WWE's main roster when the time is right rather than compete down in NXT. During an interview with Sports Illustrated last month, Steveson mentioned wanting to work as a "Paul Heyman guy."
"If I ever go to WWE, I'd be a 'Paul Heyman Guy,' " Steveson said. "Heyman is a legend. We'd be two people doing great things, and that would be a tough team to beat. And I've known Brock since I was in high school. He's been there for me for a long time, making sure I do things the right way and put my best foot forward."
Do you think Steveson has a bright future ahead of him in WWE? Will he be able to reach the same level as part amateur wrestling stars like Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments!