Valerie Loureda, a top women’s MMA prospect with Bellator, has signed a multiyear contract with WWE.
The 23-year-old told ESPN she’ll move to Orlando from Miami and report to the WWE Performance Center on July 19th. She’ll remain under contract with Bellator, but now she’ll be a full-time WWE athlete.
“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.”
Loureda said she fell in love with the glitz and spectacle of WWE after attending WrestleMania.
“That was my first WWE show ever — I had never been to a live event,” Loureda said. “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.”
She would soon have a tryout in April and May and became so addicted with performing in the ring that she didn’t want to leave even though she hadn’t been signed yet.
“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.”
It was watching Ronda Rousey, now a WWE superstar who was formerly the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, that inspired 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.