Two-time Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar may follow in the footsteps of the Great Khali to join the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) network.
Like Khali, who beat The Undertaker in his first big match-up in ‘Smackdown’, Sushil could share space with WWE stars like John Cena and Roman Reigns.
WWE’s head of talent development Canyon Ceman is scheduled to meet Sushil here on Saturday to try and thrash out a deal.
Talks are likely to be held on Sushil’s joining and the prospect of the franchise opening up to trainees of Chhatrasal Stadium, where Sushil trains.
The contract will run into crores if both parties agree on a deal, details of which will emerge later.
“We are exploring all options for Sushil to get into professional wrestling and are in talks with WWE,” Raman Raheja, whose company Super Sports handles Sushil’s commercial interests, told HT.
After Khali’s exit in 2014, WWE has long planned to expand in India and signed two athletes, Lovepreet Sangha and Satender Ved Pal last year.
Sushil has been trying to explore options after he was ignored by the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for the Rio Olympics. After the WFI refused to hold a trial in the 74kg category, Sushil moved the Delhi High Court to get relief. However, his plea was dismissed.
India went unrepresented in the category as Narsingh Pancham Yadav, who had won the quota and was backed by the WFI, was handed a four-year ban by the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) on the day of his bout in Rio.
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had lodged an appeal with CAS after Narsingh was let off by NADA’s anti-doping and disciplinary panel after two of his samples returned positive for methandienone, an anabolic steroid.