US President-elect Donald Trump has selected professional wrestling tycoon Linda McMahon to be part of his incoming administration.
Trump’s transition team said on Wednesday the incoming Republican president picked 68-year-old McMahon, co-founder of pro wrestling company WWE, to lead the Small Business Administration.
McMahon, who ran unsuccessfully for a Senate seat in Connecticut twice, in 2010 and 2012, was a major Trump backer during his presidential campaign, donating $6 million to a pro-Trump super PAC.
During her Senate campaigns, McMahon spent some $100 million, and used rhetoric similar to that adopted by Trump in the run-up to the November 8 election, where he defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
“In the Senate I will owe you, not the special interests who corrupt so many career politicians from Hartford to Washington,” McMahon said, in one of her campaign ads.
McMahon’s name has been floated as a potential member of the administration due to her ties with Trump, as well as the president-elect’s history of appearances at WWE pro wrestling events.
After the announcement of her appointment, Trump praised McMahon as “one of the country’s top female executives” who helped the WWE become a “global enterprise.”
“Our small businesses are the largest source of job creation in our country,” McMahon said in a statement.
“I am honored to join the incredibly impressive economic team that President-elect Trump has assembled to ensure that we promote our country’s small businesses and help them grow and thrive,” she added.
Over the past three decades, Linda McMahon and her husband, Vince, have built the WWE from a small company into a $1.2 billion empire operating in about 150 countries.
The McMahons have often been accused of putting profits ahead of the well-being of the wrestlers who attract millions of fans with their daredevil stunts and muscular physiques.
The WWE offers no health insurance or retirement benefits to its wrestlers for spending years in the ring, and even dump those who get injured during the events.
Years of bounding around the ring inflict heavy damages on wrestlers, causing serious physical and mental problems.
In recent years, several WWE wrestlers, died in mysterious circumstances, many due to heart failure, and others developed neurological complications.
In 2005, 38-year-old Eddie Guerrero was found dead in his hotel room. An autopsy revealed that Guerrero died as a result of acute heart failure.
In 2007, Chris Benoit, 40, killed his wife Nancy Benoit and strangled their 7-year-old son Daniel before hanging himself in their house.
In 2014, James Brian Hellwig, known as The Ultimate Warrior, collapsed while walking with his wife to their car at a hotel and was pronounced dead at a hospital. Authorities said the wrestler died due to heart failure.