Wrestling icon, Olympic gold medalist, Kenny Monday to head up new promotion

Photo credit: Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE - Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

Olympic gold medalist, Kenny Monday, is set to become the head of a new promotion, BattleGrounds MMA. Stops by to talk about his role and the goals of the organization.

Strikeforce is circling the drain. It's a sad state of affairs, and it's highly unlikely that they'll be around after their Showtime deal expires in a few months. Several organizations appear poised to fill the void they'll leave, but Oklahoma based, BattleGrounds MMA might just be what the doctor ordered. Rich Chou, former Strikeforce matchmaker, has signed on as Vice President and Promoter, and Olympic gold medalist and wrestling icon, Kenny Monday, will be serving as the face of the company in a Presidential role. Kenny talked to us recently, to give our readers the 411 on Battlegrounds MMA. Here's what he had to say:

I'm very excited about BattleGrounds. It came together through the work of Bryan O'Rourke, Rich Chou and some others. Those guys are really into the game and are doing a lot of good things promoting the fights. Since the time I fought in '98, I've always been interested and had my nose to the ground, especially watching my friends like Dan Severn compete. I don't fight anymore, but I still coach wrestling, so I really couldn't go full time into MMA, but I really wanted to find a niche, a way I could contribute to the sport. I do train some guys from time to time. They'll come to me before their fights and want to get some work in. With BattleGrounds, I've found that niche.

It's going to be a great opportunity for a lot of fighters, and I'm really excited about going forward with it. If you put on a great show with good fighters and good competition, it will be successful. That's what people want to see, great competition. MMA has been around long enough for us to learn from other's mistakes. We've seen the right way to do it and we've seen some of the wrong ways to do it. You've just got to keep things simple, and focus on the competition aspect.

The upcoming movie that's currently in production, Foxcatcher, stars Steve Carrel, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum in the true story of the events leading up to wrestling icon Dave Schultz's murder. Since Schultz and Monday were not only competitors, holding the number 1 and number 2 rankings, they were also good friends, we wanted to get his take on the movie and it's cast.

You know, it's kind of hard to say. It's a great story, and one that needs to be told. A lot of people don't even know about it. The concern here, is how it's told. It should show wrestling in it's purest form, and not glorify du Pont, or make the story just about him. It should be about Dave Schultz, who was a great, American wrestler that kind of transcended the sport. He was one of the greatest of all time. I know his story because I had to live his story. He was my main competitor. That was a really tough time for anybody that was a fan of wrestling. John du Pont meant to be good, as far as the money and support he gave to wrestling. It gave a lot of those athletes an opportunity to continue to wrestle, but it turned tragic. It's a very tragic story, but it needs to be told, and I'm kind of excited about it.

Finally, we wanted to find out Kenny's opinion on who has the best MMA based wrestling. We weren't necessarily going for who has the best credentials here, but more for who utilizes their wrestling best. Here's the list in the order he gave the names:

Daniel Cormier

Muhammed Lawal

Johny Hendricks

Ben Askren

Rashad Evans

Phil Davis

Dan Henderson

I didn't have nearly enough time with Kenny to get in all my questions, so I have another one planned for next week. Feel free to post any questions you'd like asked in the comments. You can follow him via his Twitter account, @KennyMonday

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