Recent WWE NIL signee AJ Ferrari has been arrested and charged with a felony count of sexual battery after being accused of the crime in mid-July.
After Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson was signed to the WWE’s first NIL (Name, Image, & Likeness) contract, the company announced in December that they’d signed fifteen more college athletes to NIL deals with the aim being that the company’s “Next In Line” program will offer a pathway between college sports and the sports entertainment giant.
Among these signees was Oklahoma State University amateur wrestler AJ Ferrari, who was an NCAA champion during his freshman year.
On July 13th, the Stillwater, OK Police reported that they’d responded to a sexual assault claim on July 2nd, and that AJ Ferrari was the suspect in the case. On July 5th, an unnamed woman filed a protective order against Ferrari.
Now, the Stillwater News Press reports that a warrant was issued for Ferrari’s arrest with a bond set at $25,000. According to PWInsider on Thursday night, the Payne County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma lists an Albert James Ferrari as having been bonded out of their jail within the last 24 hours, indicating that he was indeed arrested.
In an email statement issued to The Oklahoman, Ferrari’s lawyer Derek Chance maintained that his client was innocent and said the following:
“The Ferrari Family is disappointed by the State’s decision to file this charge. We remain confident that through the legal process, A.J. Jr. will be exonerated, as he is innocent and the facts will no doubt prove it.”
Ferrari had been the number one wrestling recruit out of high school and was 30-1 in his career at Oklahoma State up to this point. In his national championship true freshman season he ended with a 20-1 record, and was 10-0 as a sophomore before a car crash resulting in a shoulder injury ended his campaign.
At this time, WWE has not issued a statement on the matter. Inside the Ropes will continue to report as more information becomes available.