01 Jan Report: Former UFC champ Cain Velasquez released by WWE
Cain Velasquez is no longer a member of the WWE roster.
According to longtime pro wrestling reporter Dave Meltzer from the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Velasquez was released by World Wrestling Entertainment as part of the company’s budget cuts due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The former UFC heavyweight champion made his WWE debut in October and was signed to “a giant deal,” per Meltzer.
Velasquez, 37, impressed fans around the world during his pro wrestling debut this past August for the AAA promotion, which ultimately led to him getting signed to WWE on a multi-year deal.
During his brief time with the company, Velasquez was involved in a major on-screen story line with former UFC opponent and then WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, culminating in a worked match with Lesnar in Saudi Arabia last October that Lesnar won.
Upon signing with the WWE, Velasquez announced his retirement from the UFC and exited the USADA testing pool. The AKA trained heavyweight captured his first UFC world title when he defeated Lesnar via first-round TKO at UFC 121 in October 2010.
Since then, Velasquez dealt with a barrage of injuries that would keep him out of the octagon. After losing the heavyweight title to Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188 in 2015, the San Jose, Calif., native only competed twice in nearly a four year span.
After a 13-month layoff, Velasquez finished Travis Browne in the first round via strikes at UFC 200. Nearly three years later, and after recovering from various injuries, Velasquez took on Francis Ngannou at UFC Phoenix in February 2019 and was defeated in just 26 seconds by the former title challenger.
There’s no word on whether or not Velasquez would re-enter the USADA testing pool for a potential octagon return, or if he plans on sticking around in the squared circle for a different promotion.