WWE Signs Top MMA Prospect to Multi-Year Contract

Valerie Loureda has signed a multi-year contract with WWE, as confirmed by ESPN on Wednesday. The Miami native will remain under contract with the Bellator but is scheduled to move to Orlando to begin her training at the WWE Performance Center full-time. She said in a statement, "I'm an entertainer. I love glamour. I love production, I love storytelling. And when I saw the WWE, I realized this is everything I'm good at in one place. Not only that, but I saw the opportunity to be the first Cuban American woman to be a WWE Superstar."

Loureda has accumulated a 4-1 professional record in Bellator, with her latest fight being a split decision victory over Taylor Turner at Bellator 271 in November. She went through tryouts in April and early May and reportedly was able to impress WWE coaches.

"Valerie Loureda is a very young and talented athlete who can accomplish plenty in MMA for years to come, but for now we wish her the best of luck as she pursues her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar," Bellator president Scott Coker told ESPN. "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."

She further commented on the situation with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, confirming that she doesn't plan to fight again — "Scott Coker and Mike Kogan, they believed in me when I was 19 years old," Loureda said of Bellator executives. "My first professional fight was without shinguards at the Mohegan Sun. opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity to brand myself and build this platform and just be me. Now, I'm making this transition, and my mind has shifted, but I know what I'm going to do in the WWE. ...I love fighting, but this is my time."

Loureda is the latest MMA star to make the jump to professional wrestling. The current WWE roster includes former fighters such as Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler and Matt Riddle, while former WWE Champions like Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley have also found success jumping into the Octagon. 

h/t ESPN