As part of our mission to provide unique content, we'll be covering fighters that had the potential to be great but due to circumstance, never was able to fulfill their potential in a weekly piece we like to call "He could have been great". The first fighter discussed is Jake Rosholt, a 3x NCAA D1 Champion out of Oklahoma State University and Team Takedown member.
Some background about Team Takedown before discussing what could have been with Jake Rosholt's career. Team Takedown is a management company that pays their fighters a salary as well as provide food and shelter to take the worry of having bills out of the fighter's mind during training for SEVEN YEARS. In return on their investment, they take the fighter's purse and sponsorships. The fighters on their roster are all former OSU wrestlers with fantastic credentials and all train out of Las Vegas at Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai Jiu Jitsu.
Jake Rosholt is considered one of the best wrestlers to enter MMA, winning the NCAA D1 championships in his Freshman, Junior, and Senior years at OSU. He was a 4x All American and in his Sophomore year, he won the Big 12 championships. Needless to say, his wrestling pedigree is phenomenal. He went 4-0 fighting in smaller shows in Oklahoma before his management received a call from the Zuffa offices. Initially they wanted him to be a cast member of the Ultimate Fighter, as his overall marketability would have increased from the exposure on Spike TV. His management team decides to forgo the opportunity and instead signed a very odd deal with the WEC to fight in their Middleweight Division. Jake's deal required the WEC to book him on the televised portion of the card, which isn't the norm for prospects. Jake had one fight in the WEC against a Hawaiian fighter named Nissen Osterneck. During this fight Jake had difficulty dealing with Osterneck's stand up and was only able to win after getting the takedown and getting the TKO stoppage. This fight should have been where his management saw that Jake was not ready for the WEC. Unfortunately, when the Zuffa dissolved the WEC MW division, Jake's contract was transferred to the UFC.
The UFC contract had the same "televised bout" condition which meant that Joe Silva had to bring Jake along faster than he normally would with a highly touted prospect. His first fight in the UFC was supposed to be against Alessio Sakara, who is notorious for having horrific takedown defense. Unfortunately, Sakara withdrew due to injury and Jake faced Dan Miller instead. Honestly, who at Team Takedown thought this was a good idea? Dan Miller is the former IFL champion who is one of the most well rounded fighters in the Middleweight Division. Why would you accept a fight against him for your most promising fighter's SIXTH fight?! I look at this booking by the UFC as a way to show the Team Takedown management that if you want special considerations in contracts, you better deliver when offered fights.
Continuing the trend of throwing Jake to the sharks, Joe Silva booked his next fight against TUF1 vet and fan favorite Chris Leben. Chris Leben was returning from a suspension from testing positive for steroids in his fight against Michael Bisping and fans expected fireworks. Unfortunately Leben, who has under-rated takedown defense, was unable to stop Rosholt's takedown in the third round and was put to sleep with an arm-triangle choke. He was then matched up with TUF 3 winner Kendal Grove at UFC 106 in a fight many considered to be Grove's last chance to fight in the UFC. Jake was able to get an early takedown but dove into a triangle choke. The UFC management decided to cut ties with the OSU wrestler after going 1-2 in the organization with a relatively high paying contract the required the organization air his bouts.
Since his release from the organization, Jake has only fought once in a small organization in Oklahoma where he picked up a win over an unknown fighter whose current record on Sherdog's fightfinder is 11-11. One would think this is evidence of his management team now handling his career intelligently, but you'd be wrong. His next fight is against Matt Horwich on November 12th in a fight I fully expect Horwich to win.
So here's to you Jake Rosholt, you could have been great but your management team valued short term gains in exchange for your growth as a fighter. You are now known as the biggest failure in the Team Takedown stable of fighters.
Originally posted on Unintelligent Defense
EDIT: I want to point out he wasn't cut strictly for the stipulation alone. His contract value (13/13) plus the fact that his fights needed to be televised meant that he was forced to fight higher end UFC level fighters instead of developing slowly like Joe Silva normally would with a blue chip prospect like Phil Davis or even Cain Velasquez.