Wrestling Legend Ric Flair Is Leaving WWE: 'We Just Didn't See Eye to Eye'

Flair tells PEOPLE that "it was a mutually agreed-upon decision" between him and WWE to end his contract

Ric Flair
Ric Flair. Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty

Ric Flair and WWE are cutting ties.

The 72-year-old wrestling legend, who just re-signed with WWE last year, worked with the company to be released from his contract, Flair tells PEOPLE.

"We just didn't see eye to eye on some business opportunities that I wanted to pursue, so I asked for my release," he says. "There has been no animosity and everything has been on friendly terms."

WWE had said in a brief statement earlier Tuesday that they "have come to terms on the release of Ric Flair."

Flair tells PEOPLE that any reports that he messaged Vince McMahon to release him because of conflicting storylines with his daughter Charlotte are "absolutely not true."

"It happens sometimes in business; you just don't see eye to eye," Flair says. "But how could I have any animosity towards the company who made me who I am? They literally made me who I am."

"Some of my best friends in the world work at the company," he continues. "How could I possibly be upset with the company where my daughter is currently the most decorated woman's wrestler in history?"

Flair says he left to continue with his other business interests.

"It was a mutually agreed-upon decision and I will be moving forward to pursue other exciting endeavors such as my own line of wine, my own network, as well as comic books," he says. "I had to make this decision personally for my business and my brand."

Flair last appeared on WWE programming back in February, when he was involved in a romantic storyline that revolved around Lacey Evans, a rival to his daughter Charlotte, according to Forbes. The storyline was dropped after Evans became pregnant.

During a recent interview, Flair said he "didn't [feel comfortable]" with the storyline.

"She's a really nice girl and all that, but it didn't fit this time," Flair said during a March episode of the Ariel Helwani MMA Show. "We made the best of it but ultimately, she's pregnant with her husband now. It was never anything personal, I barely know her and her whole life is her husband and her daughter. I didn't like that one."

Flair's exit from the WWE has also sparked speculation that he will be the latest talent to sign with All Elite Wrestling.

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Flair, who has wrestled for four decades during stints in WCW and WWE, made his WWE debut at Royal Rumble in 1992.

The WWE Hall of Famer has had a number of health issues over the years, including an emergency in August 2017 when it was revealed he was in the early stages of kidney failure and on the verge of congestive heart failure — the result of years of alcohol abuse, PEOPLE previously reported.

Doctors at the time told Flair he only had a 20 percent chance of surviving and he was placed into a medically induced coma before eventually recovering.

Updated by Elissa Rosen
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