Agon Wrestling Championships I, an event intended to bring mixed martial arts flash to an amateur-style wrestling event, has announced additional matches featuring former college wrestlers, and a pay-per-view option for its debut event in Las Vegas Oct. 27, according to separate reports at a major amateur wrestling publication’s website as well as a MMA website.
WIN (Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine) reported Thursday the addition of a match between former Michigan State All-American Nick Simmons and Stephen Abas, the former Fresno State NCAA champ and 2004 Olympic silver medalist, as well as a bout featuring Jay Borschel, 2010 NCAA champ from Iowa, taking on Aaron Simpson, a mat alum from Arizona State. These matches are in addition to a Ben Askren-Quentin Wright main event and a Lance Palmer-Jordan Oliver bout announced in late August.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, BloodyElbow.com’s Mike Riordan reported, “Agon Wrestling Championships will hold the first of a series of pay-per-view wrestling cards… The pay-per-view stream will be provided by people at Flowrestling.” (Flowrestling.com is an amateur wrestling website.)
The event – officially titled “Agon Wrestling Championships I: The Revolution” -- will be held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas on Sunday, Oct. 27. In an August video interview with Flowrestling.com, Agon Wrestling Championships creator Mike DiSabato said the bouts would be like college folkstyle matches, with some notable differences. Matches would last nine minutes (with three, three-minute periods) instead of seven minutes as in college, wrestled on a hexagonal-shaped mat, without a cage. Competitors would vie for title belts.
As Riordan pointed out in his article for the MMA website BloodyElbow.com, all four matches feature former top-flight amateur wrestlers… with one current MMA fighter involved in each bout. Askren has been the Bellator Fighting Championships welterweight champ since Dec. 2010, while Palmer won the Resurrection Fighting Championships featherweight title in June. Abas and Simpson are also MMA competitors.
College wrestling credentials of competitors
All eight wrestlers slated to compete in the Agon Wrestling Championships premiere event have impressive college wrestling credentials.
Askren was a four-time NCAA finalist for Missouri, winning the 174-pound crown in his last two years in college in 2006 and 2007. He was also a two-time winner of the Hodge Trophy, presented each year to the nation’s best college wrestler, and wrestled freestyle for the U.S. at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Wright, a four-time All-American wrestling for Cael Sanderson at Penn State, was a three-time NCAA finalist, winning the 184-pound title at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, then being crowned 197-pound champ at the 2013 NCAAs.
Oliver also won a title at the 2013 NCAAs, at 149 pounds for Oklahoma State, to accompany the 133-pound crown he claimed at the 2011 NCAAs. Like Wright, Oliver was also a three-time NCAA finalist, and four-time All-American.
Palmer, a four-time Ohio state champ for St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland, became a four-time NCAA All-American for Ohio State. As a senior, he won the 149-pound title at the 2010 Big Ten conference championships, and was a finalist at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
Simmons was a four-time NCAA All-American at Michigan State, who, in freestyle competition, defeated 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo in his last match before retiring from the sport after that loss.
As with the other wrestlers named previously, Abas was a four-time NCAA All-American. As a wrestler at Fresno State, Abas was a three-time NCAA champ (2000-02). The California native won a silver medal in freestyle at the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Borschell was a two-time All-American for the University of Iowa, winning the 174-pound crown at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships. He will also be competing Oct. 20 at the Association of Career Wrestlers Tour ACW test event in Pittsburgh.
Simpson, a four-time Arizona high school state champ, was a two-time All-American at Arizona State in 1996 and 1998, then served as an assistant coach at his college alma mater for nine years. He also competed in Real Pro Wrestling, a 2005 venture featuring former college wrestlers competing for prize money in a hybrid of various amateur wrestling styles.
More details on Agon Wrestling Championships
The Oct. 27 inaugural Agon Wrestling Championships event in Las Vegas is expected to be the first of seven similar events that will be around the country. The next Agon event will be held in Flint, Mich., on Dec. 22. In 2014, there are more events planned for Ithaca, N.Y. (in January), Columbus, Ohio (February), Clovis, Calif. (March), Indiana, Pa. (April), and again in Las Vegas next July.
According to the official Agon website, “The Agon Wrestling Championship Series is owned, and operated by the United Wrestling Group, LLC. The United Wrestling Group, LLC was formed by a group of individual investors with the common goal of creating a sustainable professional wrestling organization.”
“Agon” comes from Greek word describing a one-on-one, no-holds-barred contest where human nature was tested to the limits. “Agon” is the root of English words “antagonist” and “agony.”
Agon Wrestling Championships is just one of a number of ventures designed to provide athletes with amatuer mat backgrounds an opportunity to compete in the sport they love... and make some money doing it. Tour ACW -- mentioned earlier in the article -- has its first-ever "test event" in Pittsburgh this Sunday, Oct. 20. One month later, MMA organization Victory Fighting Championship is sponsoring its first Victory Wrestling Challenge in Omaha, featuring former Iowa State mat stars Travis and Trent Paulson, Missouri champ Max Askren (Ben Askren's younger brother) and University of Nebraska-Omaha heavyweight champ Les Sigman.
Listen to a Back Points audio feature with InterMat's T.R. Foley and Brian Muir discussing Agon, with predictions.
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