As reported by ESPN, a top women’s Bellator MMA prospect Valerie Loureda has signed a multi-year deal with WWE. She will remain under contract with Bellator but will be a full-time WWE Superstar. Loureda, 23, will be heading to Orlando to the WWE Performance Center on July 19.
Originally not interested in WWE and wanting to focus on her MMA career, Loureda gave in and went to WrestleMania 38 earlier this year and was instantly hooked. After a tryout with WWE in late April/early May, Loureda reportedly was so addicted to being in the ring she didn’t want to leave despite not being signed just yet.
“I’m an entertainer,” Loureda said “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.”
Calling her manager Abe Kawa of First Round Management she proclaimed, “I said, ‘Abraham, I know I don’t have a contract, but is there any way I can stay here? I’m losing a week of training,'” Loureda said. “I just want to get better.”
“The moment I stepped into the suite and I saw the WWE organization, the professionalism and the production, I fell in love,” Loureda said. “I had goosebumps like the first time I saw MMA on the TV.”
Bellator MMA’s president Scott Coker said the following in regards to Loureda in a statement to ESPN.
“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,” Coker told ESPN in a statement. “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.”
In an interview with The MMA Hour, Loureda further discusses her signing with WWE and her goals.
“I have now become the first Cuban-American woman…I am now a WWE superstar. I’m really excited. I dedicated my whole life to Martial Arts and I feel like everything has come to this moment and this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and show the world the entertainer that I am,” she said. (Fightful)
Loureda who is currently 4-1 in her fights says she is determined to make it onto NXT by the end of the year.
“Yes, my mind has completely shifted from MMA to WWE. All that passion and energy I have for MMA, that I worked for five years, I’m now doing that in the training facility in Orlando. I love fighting, but this is my time. I’m turning 24 next month, my first day as an employee of the WWE at the facility, this is the best birthday gift I could ask for,” she said. “My first day is on my 24th birthday, July 19.”
“I have big expectations for myself. Hopefully, by the end of the year, I’ll be on live TV. Hopefully, within a year, if I work hard, I’ll be on the main roster. It just depends on what they say and how well I develop and improve and how quickly and if they think I’m ready. I trust them.”
She adds that she finds wrestling harder than MMA –
“It’s extremely tough. For me, it’s actually harder than MMA. My first bump, I just knew I could do it. I had this feeling in my gut and my first bump, hitting the ropes, I just fell in love with it and I knew I could do it. It’s tough, it’s a hard transition, it’s different than what I’m used to, but if you can re-wire your brain and change your mentality and realize what this is and how to be the best at it, you can be successful. I was with coach (Norman) Smiley the whole time and he was amazing and taught me so much. He stayed in an open ring after for like two hours and we worked and he taught me stuff and taught me different things that would work with my style,” she said.
The full interview can be seen below –