Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson is committing his future to professional wrestling, but not before he goes back to college for at least another year.
On Thursday, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) announced that they company had signed Steveson to an exclusive agreement in a first-ever NIL (name, image, likeness rights) deal. Under new rules passed by the NCAA, student athletes can now secure endorsements from NIL deals like this one but still compete in college athletics.
Steveson signing with WWE means he will eventually join the professional wrestling ranks but for now he’s putting his focus back on another NCAA title with the University of Minnesota.
After claiming his first NCAA title in early 2021, Steveson went on to shock the world by pulling off a stunning comeback in the Olympic finals to claim the gold medal. Afterwards, Steveson hinted at a possible future in either mixed martial arts or professional wrestling but his decision about what comes next wasn’t made until just recently.
Signing the NIL deal with WWE will now allow Steveson to return to the University of Minnesota where he will rejoin the wrestling team with hopes of adding another NCAA championship to his resume. Steveson hasn’t said if he plans on another run at the Olympics with the next games only three years away in 2024.
Steveson will eventually commit to a future with WWE as he follows in the footsteps of another famed University of Minnesota wrestler in Brock Lesnar, who won his NCAA title and then inked a deal to make his transition into professional wrestling as well.
Of course, Lesnar later made his move over to the UFC, where he became heavyweight champion, and it’s entirely possible Steveson could do the exact same thing.
For now, the 21-year-old phenom will concentrate on the upcoming wrestling season at the University of Minnesota while reaping the benefits of his new NIL deal with WWE.