During the several months “Big Country” Roy Nelson was prevented from fighting inside the Octagon because of legal issues, rumors circulated about Nelson’s desire to leave the real fighting behind and join the world of professional wrestling.
While Nelson’s legal issues have since been cleared up allowing him to return to the UFC, it appears that Nelson still has the desire to one day work for Vince McMahon’s WWE.
Nelson confirmed to MMAWeekly that the rumors about his desire to one day enter the staged world of professional wrestling were not rumors at all.
“We had Bo Jackson, we had Deion Sanders, we’ve got two-sport athletes. What’s wrong with doing two sports?” stated Nelson.
From a young age Nelson became interested in professional wrestling, even incorporating popular professional wrestling moves into his jiu-jitsu training.
“I’d bring professional wrestling moves into jiu-jitsu. They’d be like ‘where’d you get that?’ and I’d go that’s called a figure-four lock, this is what you call a Boston Crab.”
Nelson even wanted to incorporate the move into a fight during his time on The Ultimate Fighter. “I wanted to fight Zak Jenson on the TV show and that’s what I was going to do. I was going to win by Boston Crab,” Nelson said.
While Nelson is now expected to compete at UFC 130 against Frank Mir, the TUF winner was recently in contact with the WWE about his interest in switching sports.
A report in Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter states that Nelson’s management team contacted the WWE’s Executive Vice President of Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis, sometime in the past several weeks.
According to the report, WWE officials “were given the impression Nelson wanted to leave UFC.”
Meltzer goes on to state that while Nelson is a long time fan of the WWE, he did not have a firm grasp on what working for the company would actually entail.
While rumors recently cited a $2-$3 million payday for former UFC heavyweight champion/WWE superstar Brock Lesnar for a return to the WWE at this years Wrestlemania event, those type of big money deals are unusual for anyone in wrestling aside from top stars or mainstream celebrities.
Apparently, Nelson did not initially understand that he would likely have to learn the professional wrestling trade in the WWE’s developmental system for several years before earning anywhere near what he makes with the UFC.
While it is unknown if talks between Nelson and the WWE will continue, Nelson’s age (34) and physique were cited by Meltzer as possible reasons why Vince McMahon would be unwilling to ever sign the heavyweight.
Nelson hasn’t competed in the UFC since a unanimous decision loss to Junior dos Santos at UFC 117. Nelson was expected to compete against Shane Carwin at UFC 125 before his legal issues arose.
His bout with Mir is expected to take place at UFC 130 which features a main event lightweight title rematch between champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.