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ronald

Askren is NOT good for wrestling

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IF he attracts the kind of people to our sport that normally don't follow it, then he is good for the sport. Everyone agrees that wrestling needs more fans and support, yet we put out the moral high ground card when people get involved.

 

Askren: a great rep to the sport no matter what his motivations are

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There are several issues with Askrens contract. I think Ultiamtely Askren wants in the UFC as does anyone in MMA, but he's currently with Bellator. There is a clause in his contract with Bellator that if anyone else offers him a contract they have the rights to match it. So for the UFC to get him they would have to pay more than Bellator is willing to pay. Dana White has called him boring, but I think that might just bad mouthing because he fights for another organization. The Bellator president publicly stated that he would waive the right to match the UFC's deal if Askren is given an immediate title shot against St. Pierre, but there are probably internal politics that make that difficult. So I'm not really sure why he hasn't signed a contract with someone, but those are a few of the issues.

 

As far as WWE style smack talk in wrestling, I don't really think it has a place at the NCAA level. I don't think it's compatible with sportsmanship or the mission of the NCAA. Certainly I think it's fine for organizations like Agnon or the ACW to allow, encourage, or require it. I'm just nor very interested in watching wrestling with alternative rules practiced in such a limited context. I don't understand why every attempt at a professional promotion for wrestling always tries to tweak the rules - Agnon, ACW, Real Pro wrestling. I'd like to see Askren and Wright wrestle a folkstyle match or a freestyle match, but some alternative rule set used no where else? I'm less interested.

 

I agree it's bad for the sport if we have guys like Askren who have the talent to show up and easily beat NCAA champs up two weights and a world silver medalist and Hodge winner up a weight while training and completing in the sport part time at best. We need these guys doing it full time. Guys like him and Hendricks get people interested in matches if only to root against them.

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What sets Askren apart in his wrestling is his technique! I bought his funk technique vid way back and I was very impressed with his ability to describe exactly what he does in a variety of situations. I hate that they call it funk, to me it's just great technique.

 

I've seen no comment of the technique he was using of trapping wright's arm in the back of his knee for an easy go behind. Has anyone ever seen that?

 

You could not be more correct! Just because a technique is unorthodox does not mean it's not great technique. I absolutely love watching Ben wrestle.

 

Regarding the move, I have seen some Russians do it, though I cannot remember for the life of me who. I know Opan Sat has a great 2-on-1 series and does something similar, but it's not quite what Ben did.

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Ben loves performing, and that's great for wrestling. Here's what he recently posted on facebook.

 

"Little known fact. My senior year I told the NWCA that I would not wrestle in the all star classic unless I was allowed to wrestle Johny Hendricks (Fan Page) (He was 165, I was 174 so this was an unusual request). I even sent my fat test proving I was willing to cut the weight to get to 165. My request was denied with no reason and I did not wrestle in the all star. Wish they would have given the fans what they wanted to see."

 

https://www.facebook.com/benaskren/post ... 0844224157

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I think White is very interested in Askren, he just loathes Bjorn Rebney and the way he does business. Unfortunately for Askren he's stuck in the middle of it.

 

I think Dana White loathes competition or anything that may increase fighter pay in the UFC. The last time the UFC tried to get a Bellator champion who Viacom MMA had matching rights in a contract the deal offered by Zuffa ended up being made public and it was somewhat above what other fighters in the UFC are making. This created some problems for White. I think he is worried about this kind of thing happening again.

 

White is definitely interested. He's had some preliminary talks with Askren's people, but Bellator only has matching rights until July 31, 2014. GSP is fighting in a couple weeks, so if White just waits until August of next year then he doesn't have to deal with Viacom MMA and their matching rights. That's maybe 1 more fight for the champion in between. It's not like they don't have interesting opponents to set up against St. Pierre or Hendricks. Bellator might be making the offer to give up Askren because they know they will lose him either way.

 

I think after the Hendricks-St. Pierre fight White will think seriously about Askren. If he waits until August then maybe Askren does more wrestling in his year away from MMA and it's good for us.

 

http://espn.go.com/blog/mma/post/_/id/19506/askren-still-waiting-on-the-ufc

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I was working at the NWCA when this happened. What you're not being told is the invites were already sent out prior to the NWCA being informed of Ben's idea. I thought it would have been great, but to say he was not given a reason is wrong. I told him directly when he asked me about it. Wish I had the text/Facebook message to validate.

 

So we had invites accepted at both weights and one would have to be pulled to make the match happen. A PR issue when you have someone's invite yanked.

 

That's another part of the story you're not hearing.

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So 1 guy gets his feelings hurt, but everyone out there gets to see the 2 best wrestlers in the nation go at it in what would have been the match of the year. Seems like you had your PR priorities backwards.

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So you just buck protocol and policy to play favorites? Hardly. Also clearly noted NWCA was told after invites went out. His coach was also the President elect of the NWCA. There was plenty of time to make this happen correctly without burning already accepted invites.

 

We are also talking about an event at least five-six years ago. A little fruitless to bring it up after the fact and Monday Morning QB it a wrestling generation ago. I didn't see the relevance in even bringing it up other than to push some agenda.

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I can't speak for Ben, but I think the agenda for Victory, Tour, and AGON seem to be 'think outside the box' and start doing things we should have been doing 20 years ago, before you're fighting for your life.

 

And I wasn't involved in the invite/non-invite situation, but why not create a match between the two and send out two more invites for the traditional 165 and 174 match-ups? It seems like with Stieber/Maple, we're starting to get a bit more of this in wrestling now but I think Ben's point is, it should have been there sooner. AND it shouldn't take the athletes to put themselves out there to make it happen. This is what leadership and and vision is about, not just going through the motions and doing the same thing, year after year.

 

Really glad to see wrestling at so many levels embracing change and marketing. Very positive for the future of the sport.

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This was years ago ... people have obviously moved in that direction. I've explained what the issue was. I've got no reason to deceive. There was a protocol and that was not expressed before the invites were sent out. Can't be any more cut and dry. Moving on ...

 

I'm no Askren scholar, but I think what he was complaining about was the culture of high-school- and college-age wrestling. There are many ways Askren was not like a typical wrestler, but in this case, he seems to be saying he wanted to put on a show, but he confronted a culture where putting on a show was not even an option. Nobody working within the culture is to blame. He just had a different vision. It looks like he's able to get closer to that vision with Agon and MMA.

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I may not enjoy everything Askren does away from the mat, but he is not hurting the sport whatsoever. Wrestling needs him. I actually laugh at some of the stuff he does and says, and I thoroughly enjoy watching him wrestle. I have seen a couple of his MMA fights and yes, they're not as exciting as I'd like for them to be, but he's very successful at what he does both in the Octagon and on the mat.

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