Category Archives: wrestling

FNU Combat Sports Show: MacGregor/Mayweather Talks; Soccer Headers as Dangerous as Heavyweight Boxing; UFC Recaps and Previews; Fedor vs. Mitrione Bellator Preview and Predictions

Tony, Rich and Tom come back from a week off with a ton of stuff to talk about. From the controversy of Holly Holm’s UFC 208 main event title fight with Germaine De Randamie to the upcoming battle between Matt Mitrione and Fedor Emelianenko, we cover a wide range of past and upcoming MMA events. We also look back at Ivan Barnchyk’s masterful comeback last weekend against Abel Ramos in a thrilling boxing match. We also go over the upcoming week’s boxing schedule. We also update the Mayweather vs. MacGregor negotiations with a big surprise: The UFC is the big stumbling block at this point. Additionally we discuss the recent study showing soccer players can suffer the same damage as heavyweight boxers after long careers in the sport where heading soccer balls repeatedly can bring on CTE in retired players. We also spend time discussing Brock Lesnar’s retirement and GSP’s imminent return.

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FNU Combat Sports Show: Sonnen vs. Ortiz Recap, De La Hoya Arrest, And So Much More…

This week on the Fight News Unlimited Combat Sports Show we discuss Tito Ortiz winning his way into retirement over arch rival Chael Sonnen, and we also preview upcoming MMA and boxing events. Tom, Tony and Rich provide in depth analysis and commentary after a week off from the show. 2017 is off to a slow start in the combat sports world, but this weekend gets things started in a huge way with dueling HBO and Showtime boxing cards and both Bellator and UFC events slated for the coming days. Join us as we discuss all things combat sports.


Anthem Sports & Entertainment Forms Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC., Acquires Control of IMPACT Wrestling

For Immediate Release – January 4, 2017

Toronto, Canada (January 4, 2017) – Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp. today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority interest in TNA IMPACT Wrestling, and has formed Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC.  Anthem also owns Fight Network, the world’s premier 24/7 multi-platform channel dedicated to complete coverage of combat sports, which is IMPACT Wrestling’s exclusive broadcast partner in Canada and worldwide digital partner.

“We are thrilled to have acquired TNA IMPACT Wrestling,” said Ed Nordholm, Executive Vice President of Anthem Sports & Entertainment Corp., the parent of Fight Network. “As we grow Anthem’s linear, digital and mobile platforms globally, top tier content with global appeal is key to that success and this acquisition is a perfect strategic addition to our portfolio. IMPACT has been a dominant wrestling brand around the world for more than a decade and we are confident that Anthem can leverage its assets and strategic partnerships to take IMPACT Wrestling to even greater heights.”

Mr. Nordholm, who has been the managing director of the IMPACT Ventures Board of Managers since October 2016, will assume the position of President of Anthem Wrestling Exhibitions, LLC. Dixie Carter will resign from her position as Chairman of Impact Ventures and join the Advisory Board of Fight Media Group, which holds all of the combat sports-related assets of Anthem, where her focus will be on the global growth of the combat sports-related brands owned by Anthem.

“Anthem has been a great partner for many years,” added Dixie Carter. “We have worked hard to find the right company who would acquire TNA, use its strategic influence and have a long-term commitment to the brand. TNA’s incredible fans, talent and staff deserved to see the brand continue to thrive after 15+ years of incredible growth.  I’m excited to move to a new position and work with Anthem on their global strategic plan, and I am confident TNA IMPACT Wrestling is going to be a huge part of their success.”

Ms. Carter will remain a minority equity stakeholder.

FNU Combat Sports Show: CM Punk’s Debut, UFC Fight Night Recap, Brrok vs. Golovkin Preview

Tom, Tony and Rich discuss the week in Combat Sports, focusing on the recent UFC Fight Night in Hamburg, Germany, the UFC debut of Phil Brooks (A.K.A. CM Punk) and the upcoming battle between Kell Brook and Gennady Golovkin.


Rumford, Maine (July 20, 2016) – New England Fights (NEF), America’s number one regional fight promotion, earlier today announced the winners of this year’s contest to attend the University of Southern Maine’s (USM) annual “Brawlin’ Lobster Wrestling Clinic.”


Isaiah Cogswell, a junior at More High School in Bath, Maine and Benjamin Mahoney, a junior at York High School in York, Maine, will both have their tuition costs covered to attend this year’s clinic and will both receive a unique NEF prize package that includes tickets to “NEF 25: HEROES & VILLIANS” to be held on September 10th at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. The contest was sponsored by NEF and NEF professional featherweight mixed martial artist, Brandon “The Dream Killer” Bushaw. In order to enter, applicants needed to submit a 200-word essay outlining how attending the 2016 clinic would help them to achieve their wrestling goals. Cogswell and Mahoney were selected out of over 40 applicants.


“I want to attend this camp so I can achieve my goal of Maine heavyweight champion and this camp will help me not only keep my skills but to improve upon them,” wrote Mahoney, who has placed at both mid-states and the Atlantic Invitational tournament since he began wrestling on the varsity team his freshman year. “I would like to show to my coaches that I am willing to take the extra step to show leadership and experience, so that I could also be a team captain this year.”


“This camp would give me an opportunity to be exposed to more coaching styles and learn more about who I am as a wrestler,” Cogswell, a varsity wrestler and KVAC Champion, wrote in his essay. “I am not done, I still have work to do to reach my goals.”


This year’s dual sponsorship to send two wrestlers to the clinic was made possible by the contribution of Brandon Bushaw, a two-time state wrestling champion and member of the Maine Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame. After a successful career at Westbrook High School, Bushaw went on to wrestle at Michigan State University alongside teammates and UFC-standouts Rashad Evans and Gray Maynard. With almost 20 fights under his belt between his amateur and professional mixed martial arts careers, Bushaw has never forgotten his wrestling roots and the lessons he gained from competing in the sport.


“Wrestling has molded my life on and off the mat since my freshman year of high school,” said Bushaw.  “I look back and am so thankful to this day that Coach Walsh wouldn’t leave me alone about coming out for the Westbrook wrestling team all those years ago. If I can give back even one percent of what I got out of wrestling, it would be monumental to me. That’s why when I saw NEF was paying for a young wrestler to go to camp, I called Matt and told him I would like to send someone as well! I’m glad he accepted my offer and I hope that wrestling has the same impact on this young man’s life that it did mine!”


“Wrestling is one of the oldest and most effective martial arts in the world,” stated NEF co-owner and matchmaker Matt Peterson. “Participating in the sport of wrestling has the potential to improve one’s performance in all areas of life. We’re proud to send these two deserving young men to the USM clinic this summer and hope this plays a part in helping them to achieve their goals both on and off the wrestling mat next season.”


“Myself and our coaching staff appreciate NEF and Brandon for sponsoring these wrestlers and giving them an opportunity to attend our camp,” stated Mike Morin, USM Head Wrestling Coach, himself a two-time All-American, when reached for comment. “We are the only NCAA program in the state and will have coaches from all over the Northeast as clinicians. These sponsorships are allowing these wrestlers to participate and learn at a high level. In turn, this only helps the state as a whole grow and get better.”


New England Fights’ next event, “NEF Presents Dana White: Looking for a Fight”  takes place on Friday, August 5, 2016 at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor,  Maine.  Tickets are on sale now at or by calling the box office at 800.745.3000.


For more information on the event and fight card updates, please visit the promotion’s website at  In addition, you can watch NEF videos at, follow them on Twitter @nefights and join the official Facebook group “New England Fights.”


NYU incubator-winning competitive wrestling helmet
to roll out on in November

NEW YORK – July 19, 2016 –BATS-TOI™ (Bah’tua), a startup sports technology company dedicated to improving athlete health and safety through the production of innovative consumer equipment, today announced the launch of its official website,, which will serve as the online home for its flagship product – the award-winning, state-of-the-art, protective wrestling helmet, The Mercado™ – that is slated to hit the market in November.

Named after its founder, sports industry entrepreneur and standout wrestler for NCAA Division I Syracuse University, Mario R. Mercado, Jr., the patent-pending helmet, a winner of the inaugural New York University (NYU) Summer Incubation Program (SIP) competition in 2012, was meticulously designed and developed over a four-year period by an elite team of biomedical and mechanical engineers as well as leading neurologists that Mercado assembled with the assistance of engineering faculty at NYU and Columbia University, respectively.

The result is a sleek, modern-looking product that meets the safety needs of the athlete by covering and protecting an unprecedented amount of the head region relative to traditional headgear models that have been worn by competitive wrestlers for decades.

“We are extremely proud and excited to unveil our web platform, which will serve as the online home to The Mercado™, to the global marketplace,” said Mercado, Jr., a 20-year veteran of the combat sports industry and recent appointee to the position of New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) Regulator by Governor Andrew Cuomo who, in April, signed the historic bill legalizing Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competition in The Empire State.

The effectiveness of The Mercado™ was recently measured through several impact tests conducted at the renowned Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings Institute, as well as at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and the outcomes were compared with those produced by other models of contemporary wrestling headgear.

“Beginning with The Mercado™ helmet and the sport of wrestling,” Mercado, Jr. continued, “BATS-TOI™ is challenging, and is determined to improve safety standards in competitive sports and the overall quality of life of athletes who perform at all levels, from amateur to world-class, to professional.”

While serving a market comprised of over 50 million competitive combat sport athletes worldwide, the team at BATS-TOI™ plans to modify The Mercado™ to suit the needs of athletes who compete in other contact sports.

The Mercado™ will retail for $150, and initially be available for purchase exclusively in the BATS-TOI™ website store.


Newest Bellator MMA acquisition Joey Davis

SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 15, 2016) – Bellator MMA is thrilled to announce the signing of NCAA Division II wrestling star Joey Davis, to an exclusive multi-year, multi-fight contract. The signing was first reported by’s Jeremy Botter.


Davis joins a string of recent signings by Bellator president Scott Coker including standout wrestlers the likes of three-time All-American Jarod Trice and Olympic contender Tyrell Fortune. The 21-year-old standout wrestler competed at Notre Dame College, where he accumulated an incredible undefeated 131-0 record and four consecutive NCAA Division II Championships during his college tenure, becoming the only Division II wrestler to ever win four national titles and go unbeaten in a career. Davis will look to compete in Bellator MMA’s stacked welterweight division and will make his professional debut before the end of this year.


“With God you can achieve anything, and I’m gonna do it with high fashion,” Davis said. “Joining Bellator is my latest achievement to date.  I don’t remember what it’s like to lose, and I’m not planning on finding out any time soon.”

(L to R) Joey Davis, Antonio McKee and A.J. McKee


Named 2016 “Man of the Year” by Wrestling USA Magazine, the Compton, Calif., native began his stretch of domination as early as the ninth grade, when he attended Sante Fe High School. Davis was crowned the California State champion at 152-pounds in his junior year and followed that impressive campaign with a second State Title at 160-pounds in his senior year.


Davis will train at Antonio McKee’s Body Shop Gym in Long Beach, Calif. alongside childhood best friend and Bellator featherweight wrecking machine AJ McKee. Davis joins a budding roster of Bellator MMA talent, with recent signings that include: Matt Mitrione, Benson Henderson, Jarrod Trice, Sergei Kharitonov, and recent re-signings the likes of Darrion Caldwell and Michael Chandler.

National Wrestling Hall of Fame celebrates 40th class with grand re-opening of its renovated facility in Stillwater, Okla.,June 3-4

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is turning 40 years old in 2016. The Hall of Fame will be inducting and honoring the 40th class at the 40th Anniversary Honors Weekend on June 3-4 with a grand re-opening in its Stillwater, Okla. location.


The current $3.5 million complete renovation will allow visitors to experience the rich history of wrestling in a new way, including interactive exhibits. There is a vast and expanded use of digital technology to preserve photographs, videos, and other historical items. The Hall of Fame has a striking new layout, which has been modernized to offer an even more stunning experience for guests.


Much has changed since America’s shrine to the sport of wrestling opened its doors on Sept. 11, 1976. The first class enshrined was Raymond G. Clapp, Fendley Collins, Tommy Evans, Edward C. Gallagher, Art Griffith, Danny Hodge, Clifford P. Keen, Dave McCuskey, George Mehnert, Hugo Otopalik, Rex Peery, Myron Roderick, Billy Sheridan, and Jack VanBebber.


The interior of the Hall of Fame and Museum building will be all new, but it will not change how Distinguished Members are honored. The four Distinguished Members in our 40th Anniversary Class will be enshrined with granite plaques like the original 14 members in the Class of 1976.


The Class of 2016 includes

Distinguished Member William B. Harlow

Distinguished Member Carlton Haselrig

Distinguished Member Brandon Slay

Distinguished Member Dick Wilson

Medal of Courage – Randy Bortles

Outstanding American – Joseph Galli Jr.

Meritorious Official – Marcia D.W. Haise

Order of Merit – Ron Good

Dave Schultz High School Excellence Award – Mark Hall II

Tricia Saunders High School Excellence Award – Katie Brock


This year’s Distinguished Members each had tremendous careers. Slay was a 2000 Olympic champion in freestyle, two-time NCAA runner-up for the University of Pennsylvania and current Assistant National Freestyle Coach with USA Wrestling. Haselrig won three NCAA Div. I and three NCAA Div. II heavyweight national titles for Pitt-Johnstown. Harlow was a three-time NCAA finalist and an NCAA champion for Oklahoma State and won a World silver medal in freestyle. Wilson was a three-time Olympian in Greco-Roman and a three-time NCAA runner-up for the University of Toledo.


Another constant from that first day is the life-size green marble statue, which not only greets visitors to the museum, but is also commemorated in the Hall of Fame logo. It is a copy of the classic Greek statue “The Wrestlers” by Cephisodotus in the Uffizi gallery in Florence, Italy. The statue in the Hall of Fame is the only one in the world in green marble, and was first seen by the late wrestling legend and past Hall of Fame president Myron Roderick when he was in Europe for the Olympics.


The NWHOF has developed countless exhibits, books and other projects in the last 39 years. It has showcased great moments and individuals, but more importantly we’ve highlighted the diversity of the sport with special-themed exhibits featuring females and ethnicities including African Americans, Native Americans, and Latino Americans.


The first time the public will have the chance to see the new National Wrestling Hall of Fame will be on Friday, June 3 at its Reception and Presentation of Plaques at 6 p.m. at 405 West Hall of Fame Avenue. The Class of 2016 induction will be on Saturday, June 4 at OSU Student Union, South Hester St in Stillwater starting at 6 p.m. with a reception in French Lounge, followed by the 40th Honors Banquet in Student Union Ballroom.


Media is invited to these special activities and can attend by contacting Jack Carnefix of National Wrestling Hall of Fame at 732-213-2121. Those wishing to interview any of the inductees during the weekend by phone should contact Gary Abbott of USA Wrestling at 719-659-9637.

Olympian and UFC champion Daniel Cormier named Honorary Chairman of Wrestling World Cup in Los Angeles, June 11-12


Daniel Cormier, a two-time Olympian in men’s freestyle wrestling and current UFC light heavyweight champion, will serve as the Honorary Chairman of the 2016 World Cup of Freestyle Wrestling, set for The Forum in Los Angeles, June 11-12.

Cormier will be supporting the promotional efforts for the World Cup ( and encouraging the public to come out to see the action, which will feature the top eight men’s freestyle nations in action.

The U.S. World Cup team will include all six of the 2016 U.S. Olympic freestyle wrestlers. Many of the other nations will also include their 2016 Olympic athletes on their rosters.

It is a great opportunity. You get to see guys in the final stages of their preparation. During off-Olympic years, you may get to see guys who are not peaked. This is in the phase of when they are peaking for the Olympic Games, two months before the competition. The foreign wrestlers will also be in peak condition. Not only will you get to see our guys at their best, but you get to see them competing against some of the best wrestlers in the world at their peak. It is very rare that we get that kind of opportunity here in the United States,” said Cormier.

This is the third straight year which the World Cup has been held in Los Angeles and hosted at The Forum. Cormier joins two other former wrestlers and major public figures who have served as Honorary Chairman of the World Cup.

In 2014, award-winning actor Billy Baldwin was the Honorary Chairman. In 2015, Stephen Neal, a World champion wrestler and three-time Super Bowl champion with the NFL New England Patriots, served as the Honorary Chairman.

Cormier had a successful career in international freestyle wrestling. He was a member of the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team, which competed in Athens, Greece, as well as the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, which competed in Beijing, China. Cormier placed fourth at the 2004 Olympic Games. He was a 2007 World bronze medalist and placed fifth in the 2003 World Championships. He wrestled on six straight U.S. World or Olympic Teams, and won six straight U.S. Open national titles.

Cormier, who follows international wrestling closely in spite of his busy schedule as a UFC athlete and a television commentator, is excited about the U.S. team which will compete at the World Cup and at the Olympic Games.

We have an amazing team this year. A chance to see them live is something you can’t get back after it’s gone. We have one of the better Olympic teams that we have had in a long time,” said Cormier.

A native of Lafayette, La., Cormier was a two-time NJCAA Junior College national champion for Colby CC in Kansas. He went on to Oklahoma State, where he placed second in the 2001 NCAA Div. I Championships, competing for two-time Olympic champion John Smith.

The 37-year-old Cormier trains at American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose alongside fellow UFC standouts such as Cain Velasquez and Luke Rockhold. Since moving to California, he has been impressed by the quality of the wrestling and the culture of the sport in the state.

Wrestling in California is huge. The state championships draws massive numbers. I have a youth wrestling club, and every weekend, we wrestle in massive tournaments. The kids get to wrestle five, six times a weekend. In the LA area, this is a big deal, for people to be able to see wrestling at such a high level. The last time I was at the World Cup at the Forum, it was amazing. You can feel the history of the building. The team went out and had a fantastic performance. It will be a big crowd. People should not miss this opportunity to see the best in the world,” said Cormier.

Cormier won a silver medal at the 2005 World Cup which was held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

It is the history of the event that make it special. It dates back as far as I can remember. Some of the greatest American wrestlers have won the World Cup. It is a very prestigious event. The World Cup is different than other international events. It brings you back to your days in high school wrestling and college wrestling when you wrestle in dual meets. Your result directly affects the team and its ability to win. I only wrestled in one World Cup, with six years on the World Team and eight years on the national team. It was a great experience,” said Cormier.

He is excited that wrestling, his favorite sport, will be showcased once again in Los Angeles, the U.S. bid city for the 2024 Olympic Games. Having been on two Olympic teams (2004 in Athens and 2008 in Beijing), Cormier would to see the Olympics hosted in the United States once again.

LA right now is a great sports city. The World Cup will show that Olympic sports can draw people. We have not had an Olympics in LA since 1984. If the Olympics go back to LA, it will be great. LA is a huge city, a sports city. The people in LA would love it. This is a chance to show that the city can host an Olympic-level competition and be successful. Los Angeles is so diverse. You have everybody in Los Angeles. You have a ton of different cultures in the LA area,” said Cormier.

Cormier has excelled in his Mixed Martial Arts career, compiling an impressive 17-1 record while competing at heavyweight and light heavyweight.

Cormier will not be able to attend the World Cup this year due to training. Cormier is currently preparing for the UFC light heavyweight title fight against Jon “Bones” Jones at UFC 200, which will be held in Las Vegas, Nev. on July 9. This is a huge fight, as both of these former wrestlers have held the UFC title belt during their careers. Jones beat Cormier in their only previous battle by decision, a title match during UFC 182 on January 3, 2015.

Preparation is going great. I have had Ed Ruth in training camp to wrestle, Deron Winn in training camp to wrestle. I’ve got a kid from Iowa State coming in to wrestle also. I am wrestling with the best guys I can find to emulate Jon Jones. (Khadjimurad) Gatsalov of Russia was the best wrestler I ever wrestled, but he didn’t have the type of style and the funky ability of Jones. Ed Ruth is a wiry, tricky wrestler. I am bringing in guys who can give me that feel. I was outwrestled the last fight. He pushed me against the fence and took me down two or three times. That is not happening again,” said Cormier.

Cormier has helped with the World Cup in Los Angeles in the past, serving as the Honorary U.S. Team Captain in 2014, sitting with the team mat side and providing support to the athletes and coaches.

The World Cup is the annual international dual meet championships, as the eight best men’s freestyle teams will compete against each other. At the 2016 World Cup, the United States will be joined by (alphabetically): Azerbaijan, Georgia, India, Iran, Mongolia, Russia and Turkey. Lineups for the other seven teams in the World Cup will be announced shortly.

The United States is slated to face Iran, Azerbaijan and India in Group B competition. Russia headlines a tough Group A pool that also includes Georgia, Turkey and Mongolia.

Attendees can purchase tickets for the popular international competition through Ticketmaster.


Saturday, June 11

Session I – Round 1 & 2 of Pools (3 p.m.-7:30 p.m.)

Sunday, June 12

Session II – Round 3 of Pools, 5th & 7th Place Matches (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.)

Session III – 3rd Place Match, followed by 1st Place Match (5 p.m.-7:30 p.m.)

General admission for both the Saturday and Sunday sessions are just $60 total or $35 for individual days. Preferred seating options are available for $85 for both Saturday and Sunday, or $55 individually.