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Bellator star Valerie Loureda quits MMA, signs pro wrestling contract with WWE

Loureda will follow in the footsteps of Ronda Rousey and Paige VanZant, among others.

Valerie Loureda was off to a promising start in mixed martial arts (MMA), jumping out to a 4-1 record inside the cage with two knockouts. But it appears the 23 year-old striker is ready to part ways with Scott Coker and Bellator to pursue her dream of becoming a professional wrestler with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

“I am now a WWE superstar,” Loureda told The MMA Hour. “I’m really excited, and I’ve dedicated my whole life to martial arts, and everything has come to this moment. And this is my opportunity to showcase my culture and entertain the world. I’m emotional because I’ve worked really hard in my whole life. I’ve had a very hard upbringing, and every day, I’ve always just believed in myself, and trained hard hoping to make it to the next step and just chasing a dream that I’ve had in my heart since I was a baby.”

Loureda was last seen capturing a split decision victory over Taylor Turner at the Bellator 271 event back in November, where she continued to draw the ire of MMA traditionalists for her post-fight dance routine. I guess it’s only cool when Valentina Shevchenko does it, which should tell you everything you need to know about MMA fandom.

“Scott Coker and Mike Kogan, they believed in me when I was 19 years old,” Loureda continued. “My first professional fight was without shinguards at the Mohegan Sun, opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity opening a main card. They gave me an opportunity to brand myself and build this platform and just be me. Now, I’m making this transition, and my mind has shifted, but I know what I’m going to do in the WWE. I love fighting, but this is my time.”

Loureda will remain under contract with Bellator as she embarks on a career in WWE. Unlike the more restrictive contracts offered by UFC, Coker and Co. typically allow talent to explore other combat sports endeavors like boxing and wrestling. The door remains open for “Master” to return at some point in the near (or distant) future.

“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 said 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.”

Loureda is scheduled to report to the WWE training center within the next few weeks.