WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Olympic freestyle wrestling champion Henry Cejudo is entering the mixed martial arts arena knowing that he has a lot to learn.
Some things, however, he already knows.
“I’m so used to wrestling where they have fans that just yell and scream,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. “But in MMA, people are drinking. People are fighting in the stands.
“People are cussing. It’s something that’s completely, completely new for me. But at the same time it’s not going to faze me.”
The son of immigrants who rose from poverty in South Central Los Angeles to become Olympic champion, Cejudo was one of the feel-good stories of the 2008 Beijing Games.
On Saturday in Tucson, the 26-year-old Cejudo enters the MMA world to face Michael Poe, an aggressive bantamweight still searching for his first victory after four losses.
“I don’t know too much about him,” admitted Cejudo, who at 21 years old became the youngest American wrestler to claim Olympic gold. “I just know he loves fighting.
“In MMA anything can happen. He’s ready, I’m ready. It’s going to be a fight. The only thing I can promise you is that I’m going to give it my best.
We speak of formal amateur wrestling, as mostly seen on the high school and college levels. If you have, you know it is one of the most demanding of sports, a total, all-out commitment of body and mind. It requires discipline and skill, it makes an athlete understand his or her body. It is the kind of sport that ought to be encouraged.
Thus we are stunned and disappointed at the proposal by the International Olympic Committee to eliminate wrestling from the Summer Games, starting in 2020. Apparently the IOC had to drop a sport to make room for rugby and golf, and picked wrestling. Why?
Some have blamed FILA, the sport’s international federation, for not selling the sport; others point to bad rule changes and/or corruption on the part of the IOC, a not unprecedented happenstance.
Whatever the cause, the effect will be to hurt youth wrestling programs here and around the world (180 countries wrestle). The New York Times reports that participation in U.S. high school wrestling has increased by more than 40,000 wrestlers in the past decade, to more than 270,000, including 8,200 women. College programs have increased as well.
Ancient Olympic wrestlers would sometimes fight to the death. IOC better understand we’re ready to do that again.
It’s not to late to save Olympic wrestling. Make your voices heard.
Crawling is acceptable.
Falling is acceptable.
Puking is acceptable.
Crying is acceptable.
Pain is acceptable.
Blood is acceptable.
Quitting is not.
Whatever it takes. Wrestlers never back down.
The United States wrestling team and Dan Gable are asking for your help to keep wrestling as an Olympic event. The International Olympic Committee this week recommended dropping the sport – a staple of the games since they began in 1896 – beginning in 2020. A final decision is expected later this year.
A Russian coach furious about the International Olympic Committee’s recent decision to remove wrestling from the 2020 Olympics has made an inflammatory claim about who is to blame for the move.
Speaking to Russian sports site R-Sport, Russian wrestling coach Vladimir Uruimagov said that the IOC’s decision was evidence of a gay conspiracy.
Dan Gable, wrestling legend, talks about the history of American wrestling. The dedication and contribution of wrestlers in their pursuit to become champions.
Share this and spread the message if you would like to see Wrestling remain in the Olympic games.
Want to succeed as a wrestler? Here are ten things you should keep in mind.
- Make a Commitment
- Set Your Goals
- Plan Out Your Year
- Get On The Mat
- No Time To Waste
- Build Yourself
- Seek Out The Best
- Take the Initiative
- Represent Yourself
- Compete with Intensity
USA Wrestling’s Ten Steps to Greatness
1. Make the Commitment
“Wrestling isn’t a sport for those that only wish to dream about success. When you are truly ready to take your wrestling to the next level there is only one choice for you. It is time to make the commitment.
Other wrestlers choose to look at the end of high school season as a vacation from wrestling, but the best wrestlers in America don’t look for an “off-season”. They know that wrestling is a continuous path of growth, and dedication. They aren’t willing to wait to get better; there isn’t any time to waste.
What others call the “off-season” is your time to pass the competition. Total commitment is your goal. It’s easy to talk about it, but talk won’t put you at the top of the podium.
For the last four years and change, Henry Cejudo has been a golden goose for MMA. Coming out of the 2008 Beijing Games where he claimed freestyle wrestling gold at 121 pounds, Cejudo was 21 years old and the youngest American wrestler to ever top the podium. With the impact of Zuffa’s WEC product taking shape already, onlookers were actively seeking an athlete that could bring the 125-pound division to the masses. They wanted Cejudo.
In addition to being a young, telegenic Olympic gold medal wrestler, Cejudo’s hard-scrabble background also generated some excitement. The youngest of six children, Cejudo bounced between impoverished neighborhoods in South-Central Los Angeles, Las Cruces, N.M., and Phoenix. His mother, a Mexican immigrant, couldn’t even go to Beijing to see her son compete because of her citizenship status. His gold medal, easy charm and background made it easy to envision him as a potential Oscar de la Hoya-esque figure for the MMA realm.
Instead, Cejudo rebuffed constant needling about an MMA career. Instead, he said he wanted to start a pro boxing career before rededicating himself to making the 2012 London Games. In April, Cejudo was defeated by Nick Simmons at the U.S. trials in Iowa City, Iowa, threw his wrestling shoes into the crowd and announced his wrestling career was over.
Wrestling For Success
“More enduringly than any other sport, wrestling teaches self-control and pride. Some have wrestled without great skill—none have wrestled without pride.” ~ Dan Gable
Today’s workforce is extremely competitive. When comparing resumes it’s easy to get lost in all the bullet points of software literacy and past responsibilities. If you really want to separate two seemingly qualified employees, bring them in for an interview and ask a simple question, “Have you ever participated in sports at an elite level?”
“Current research indicates that individuals who have competed in elite level athletics, i.e., collegiate, international, or professional level competition possess higher levels of emotional intelligence than their non-athlete counterparts,” says Richard Mendelson, I.O. psychologist and founder of Dynamic IO Consultants, a consulting firm specializing in human capital management and other services.
In 1996, Dr. William Brad McGonagle, associate vice president for administration at Texas A&M University wrote his dissertation studying how former athletes transfer the skill set they developed through athletics to the workplace. He found that an employee with prior athletic experience was able to transfer the lessons of being a team player and also noticed strengths in accomplishment-based skills, discipline, and communication.