Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson might just be the biggest free agent in combat sports today, which is why he’s being pursued by several high-profile promotions. But he’s not chasing after anybody — and that includes the UFC.
Following his jaw-dropping victory to claim gold in the 2020 Olympic games, the now 21-year-old wrestler has been popping up at events all across the United States, including an appearance at the Bellator 265 card this past Friday in South Dakota and then at WWE Summerslam in Las Vegas on Saturday.
After hearing that Steveson was headed to Sin City, UFC president Dana White said that he planned to “hook up and talk” to the top heavyweight wrestler in the world, but it turns out the two never actually connected this past weekend.
“Meeting did not happen,” Steveson revealed on The MMA Hour. “I got to Vegas and I was on the go the whole day. I had no time to reach out or nothing. I don’t know. He’s got my number, he can reach out. He’s not coming at me like that. So like I said, I’ll wait my turn.
“Dana, you have my phone number, you have my Instagram. I don’t run to people. I do my job. I wrestle, I win championships. I put on for the university. I put on for the USA. No need for me to run anywhere.”
While the UFC president didn’t attempt to make contact with Steveson, the WWE rolled out the red carpet for the University of Minnesota standout when he appeared at their Summerslam event that took place at Allegiant Stadium.
Steveson was actually brought into the ring and honored by the WWE during the show and he also got some face time with company CEO Vince McMahon.
“First time ever [meeting McMahon],” Steveson said. “It was simple. We just sat down and had an easygoing conversation, you know how it goes. Just said hey and got in and out.
“[WWE] always welcome me with open arms. Triple H, he welcomes me very well. To meet Vince, that was a warm welcome. The WWE community and the organization always welcomes me with open arms, with red carpet treatment, which is how it should be.”
Judging by his comments, Steveson definitely enjoyed the treatment he received at WWE and there’s been a longstanding rumor that professional wrestling will be his next stop after the Olympics.
Steveson previously told MMA Fighting that he was certainly interested in going to WWE but he also liked the idea of fighting in the UFC, where he would immediately become one of the top prospects in the history of the sport.
As for other potential options, the 2021 NCAA heavyweight wrestling champion discounted going anywhere other than the top organizations in the world, which is why his primary focus has remained either WWE or UFC.
Of course he’d listen to offers from upstart promotions like All Elite Wrestling, which is where former UFC fighter CM Punk now calls home, but Steveson believes he deserves to hang amongst the best in the best in pro wrestling or professional fighting.
“I’ve never been approached by AEW. I’ve never wanted to reach out to AEW,” Steveson said. “My goal is to get to WWE and be a superstar. My goal is to get to the UFC and be a big superstar. There’s two ways. I can go to the UFC and try to be the baddest man on the planet and go to the WWE and be the baddest man over there.
“I want the biggest organizations that are going to put forth my name in a respectful way, and I know AEW can do its job but I’ve never been approached. We’ll see if they approach me, but if not, I’ll move on and just go to my next day.”
With the world at his fingertips, Steveson hopes to make a decision on his future sooner rather than later, and that was only further amplified after he turned down a spot to compete at the World Championships of Wrestling in Norway in October.
Steveson was the only medalist from the U.S. wrestling team to turn down an automatic bid for the World Championships, which may signify his intention to choose a new career path in the very near future.
“At the end of the day, I’m going to make a good decision and do what’s best for me, and if it takes another month, it takes another month,” Steveson revealed. “I’m hoping before October.
“I know [what’s next]. It’s not 100 percent done. I’d say it’s about 60 percent done but I’m weighing all options. I’m trying to tell you but I can’t.”