As WWE looks to move forward following the recent scandals involving Vince McMahon and former EVP of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis, a new storm cloud has gathered over the offices in Stamford, CT, in relation to a signed potential future talent.
On Wednesday morning, an arrest warrant was issued for A.J. Ferrari, who has been charged with sexual battery. The 21-year-old Oklahoma State University wrestler, who was among WWE’s inaugural class of NIL signings in December 2021, was processed at Payne County Court District with a bond set at $25,000. As the details continue to emerge, it is known that Ferrari was accused of sexual assault by an unnamed woman last month. An investigation was opened by police in Stillwater, Oklahoma, in mid-July, as OSU wrestling coach John Smith revealed that Ferrari had been dropped from the program without providing any explanation.
At the time of the accusations coming to light, Ferrari’s attorney denied the allegations, but has now released a further statement responding to his client’s arrest.
“It is unfortunate that a student athlete can become a target, primarily because of their status as an elite athlete,” Ferrari’s attorney said. “AJ is cooperating with law enforcement and is confident the truth will come out. He appreciated his time at Oklahoma State, but he and the University mutually agreed a change was appropriate.”
WWE — who have yet to comment on the arrest at the time of publication — unveiled Ferrari as one of their first NIL signings at the tail end of last year and described him as a “a 6-foot, 200-pound wrestler from Oklahoma State University.” Ferrari was signed, along with 14 other college athletes, to the newly-established “program that provides a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.” Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson became WWE’s first-of-its-kind NIL signing in September 2021. WWE recently held a tryout during SummerSlam weekend in Nashville, TN, in a bid to sign more college athletes to the program.
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