Valerie Loureda, an MMA fighter with Bellator, has signed with WWE as the company continues its push to convey elite athletes into its developmental pipeline.
Loureda instructed The Post that talks have been initiated when her supervisor, Abraham Kawa, was negotiating an NIL deal between WWE and NCAA champion wrestler A.J. Ferrari, and her identify got here up.
WWE, by means of its NIL program with school athletes and total common technique, is searching for to maneuver away from bringing in indie wrestlers to its pipeline, as an alternative signing star athletes who might be molded from scratch into the nuances of the wrestling business. This course of is being overseen by executives James Kimball and Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
As part of this push, the 23-year-old Loureda was invited to observe WrestleMania from a suite this previous April, and it was there that she fell in love with the pomp and circumstance.
“That was my first WWE show ever — I had never been to a live event,” Loureda mentioned. “When I walked into the arena and saw the organization, the professionalism, the crowd and just the beautiful production that WrestleMania is — I just fell in love with it.”
Loureda watched WWE “here and there” rising up, however this was the primary time she acknowledged the “magnitude” of their largest occasion.
WWE says Loureda will start at its Performance Center in Orlando in mid-July — as part of a category that includes over a dozen different athletes … and no indie wrestlers — and that the purpose is for her to be on NXT TV by the top of the year.
Loureda was launched to martial arts at an early age. She famous her father was an eight-time grand grasp in Taekwondo, and that she started coaching at 3 years outdated. Loureda additionally adopted in her mom’s footsteps by taking on dancing and cheerleading.
It was watching Ronda Rousey, now a WWE famous person who was previously the UFC ladies’s bantamweight champion, that impressed Loureda to pursue MMA.
“I was looking for a way to make it to the Olympics [in Taekwondo], and that didn’t happen, and then my mom got Leukemia, and our family had to adjust. And then, one day, I saw Ronda fighting on the TV, and I said, ‘Wow, that woman is in MMA representing her sport, Judo, and I can to that with Taekwondo,’” Loureda recalled.
Loureda, whose household left Cuba, strives to encourage different first-generation Americans of Latin descent that they will accomplish something.
“Headlining WrestleMania is a dream and I’m gonna conquer that someday, however actually my purpose in WWE is I’m turning into the primary Cuban-American girl, and I need to be a task mannequin and an inspiration to younger Latinas who can now see somebody from their tradition in WWE.
“I want to represent where I came from, my roots, and really bring a new edge into this company that’s never been seen before. This is a big win for Latinas all over the world. I was born and raised in Miami. I come from a family of immigrants. I just want to show young kids who are first-generation Americans that you can do anything as long as you apply yourself, and work very hard, and your dreams can come true — like me.”