I don't have a ton of time in my near future, but something that is easy for me to write, and which is actually popular, is "actual wrestling credential" posts. Since this is a fan post and not a real post I'll indulge my desire to digress endlessly. If you wish to avoid my meandering, I'll point out where the digression begins and ends.
Here the digression begins
I first found the urge to write about wrestling in MMA when Joe Rogan commented about Matt Grice that "4 Oklahoma high school state wrestling championships are worth like 6 California state championships".
This was one of the stupidest and most misinformed statements ever made. At the time that Joe said this, California had had one 4 time state champion ever, Darrel Vasquez, while Oklahoma had a shit ton (neither state, unlike New York and Minnesota, allow middle schoolers to wrestle varsity so they cannot have any more than 4 time state champs). You see, while Oklahoma might have a stronger overall wrestling culture than California, California has FORTY MILLION PEOPLE AND ONE STATE CHAMPIONSHIP while Oklahoma has the tiniest fraction of this and multiple state championships. Also, parts of California have very dense and established wrestling infrastructures. Outside the Pennsylvania AAA state wrestling championships, California's state wrestling championship is probably the toughest in the country. It's absurd. Plenty of kids who never win California state championships go on to NCAA greatness. Plenty of multi-time Oklahoma state champs don't do shit in college.
When Joe made this claim about Grice I was a neophyte MMA fan sucked in to the sport to watch mainly Team Takedown fighters and wrestling stand outs Johny Hendricks, Jake Rosholt, and Eric Bradley, as well as Josh Koscheck whom I stumbled upon while flipping cable channels ("oh hey, it's that Ultimate Fighter stuff, haha oh man, that dude looks like Josh Koscheck from Edinboro, oh damn, that is Koscheck"). The comment made me explode with outrage. I made a mental note that people in MMA should really know more about amateur wrestling, and went from there.
About 16 months ago, I listened to Luke Thomas's interview American wrestler Jordan Burroughs. During the interview, it was made clear that Luke was having some difficulty navigating the convoluted terrain of international wrestling; I sent him a lengthy email correcting him on a couple issues. To Luke's immense credit (I've since met Luke, and I'll admit that I like Luke, he seems to be a decent dude) he responded positively, and set me up on a podcast for NCAA wrestling tournament coverage. Around this same time I started reading Bloody Elbow because Luke's name was associated with it and the only other MMA website I knew was a linking site I visited to watch Rulon Gardner in his one Pride fight (the commenters there were doofuses).
[I'll stop here and discuss the fact that I've been posting for years on a prominent wrestling message board, but nobody there was particularly interested in what I had to say, particularly because, and this may surprise some, the wrestling community is filled with old codgers as knowledgeable or more so than I about the sport, it never dawned on me that anyone would be interested about what I had to say about wrestling]
So I start visiting BE and I read this Dallas Winston dissection involving a Johny Hendricks fight. Dallas fudges a bit on Hendrick's wrestling credentials and I chime in to correct him. Dallas proceeds to say "As one gentleman to another, I welcome your expertise on this matter, well met good sir, I will amend my writing on your behest"
Dallas then started consulting me for his dissections, I started writing fan posts, and next thing I know I'm writing stuff for BE on the reg.
The best part about this was the reaction from the community. I've since been writing a weekly thing for a major wrestling publication, but due to the lack of community interaction, it's not as fun as writing for BE (though I still enjoy it). I've learned to look forward to every single thing I post on this site because I'm excited about the response from the community. If tomorrow Nate, who I am pretty impressed with, told me that I was an asshole and was not welcome at BE anymore, I wouldn't hunt for another site to post at. What would be the point? The comments would suck too badly.
I know this because I've seen what happens when my work gets posted on other sites like Sherdog or Reddit. The reading comprehension is terrible, and people say unfounded and angry things. My last post about Chael's and Jones's wrestling credentials ushered in a great deal of criticism about how I closed the post. What those people don't realize is that I didn't write that thinking it would be posted anywhere else, I wrote that for the readers here at BE, and them alone.
Here the digression ends
This brings me to my point. My life is changing and I have less time. One thing I can do with my level of expertise is write quick posts about the actual wrestling credentials about fighters with wrestling back grounds in upcoming fights. This is what I did with Jones and Sonnen. What I would appreciate from the community is a heads up from the community. If a wrestling heavy fight is coming up, shoot me an email (it's on my profile) and just remind me. Composing these things is easy for me.
That's kind of the whole point of this fanpost, I'm kinda going to be limited to credential explanation posts in the future and I need reminders.
I figure that if somebody brought a wrestler into the pawn shop on Pawn Stars and asked Rick what he was worth, I'd be the guy he'd call in to evaluate him.
Thanks to all.
Mike Riordan (formerly "Coach Mike")