We are very excited that Ben has joined our team and we look forward to working with this outstanding athlete. Ben already has a great (wrestling) base from which to work from and has taken to BJJ very quickly. He will head down to the main academy in Coconut Creek, FL. mid December to train with us, and also be training out of ATT Missouri with Wade Rome and crew of monsters. He has a very bright MMA career ahead of him.
This is precisely the sort of acquisition that ATT needs. It's not as if the wrestling at ATT is bad or even mediocre. It's quite good. But the potential for fighters who have high level wrestling or BJJ to work with their high-level counterpart has heretofore been missing. This marriage provides high level BJJ blackbelts the ability to dramatically improve their wrestling craft while giving an unreal wrestler like Askren the fine-tuned BJJ he'll need to maximize his potential and make best use of his existing skill set. Think of what Marc Laimon has done with Jake Rosholt or Johny Hendricks as an example of what I'm driving at. All around, very encouraging news.
More on Askren's wrestling achievements here.
UPDATE: by Kid Nate
I couldn't resist adding this nugget from NBC Sports:
Askren is currently a wrestling instructor at ATT-Columbia and has progressed to a purple belt level in jiu-jitsu. He will fight as a welterweight in MMA, and is expected to make his professional debut as early as January 2009. It will likely take place in a small, regional promotion.