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Randy Couture: Yeah, Title IX has really crippled wrestling programs badly

By Zach Arnold | December 22, 2011

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Click the book cover to find out more information on a great catch wrestling resource

There are two groups of people who would like to see some very different visions for the future of fighting. One is hoping for a renaissance of Catch-as-Catch-Can… and the other has a more futuristic view of where the fight business should be heading.

First, the fine group of humans who are interested in catch wrestling. As you can see up above, I highly recommend Jake Shannon’s book on Scientific Wrestling. He and many others are doing their best to emphasize the importance of Catch on the sport of MMA. Randy Couture did an interview with Eddie Goldman last Friday talking about this very issue in relation to his new book called The Last Round w/ Sara Levin (who worked for USA Wrestling). Book ordering/background information can be found on Amazon & Facebook.

In the book, he says the following: “I will always be a wrestler.” Here’s his explanation for why he said that remark:

“I think wrestling is just one of those sports that, once it grabs you, once it bites you, I mean you’re… you’re (hooked) forever, it never changes. I have a wrestler’s mind, I look through wrestler’s eyes, a wrestler’s mentality, and I transfer all those things and used all those things to become a Mixed Martial Artist and in MMA it’s the foundation for my fighting style and I think that, you know, those things will never go away. They become part of my character and part of who I am, so I think for that reason I’ll always be a wrestler.”

Now that he is retired from Mixed Martial Arts, Randy was asked about the state of amateur wrestling and what role Mixed Martial Arts can play in helping bring more attention to the sport.

“I think, unfortunately, Title IX has been pretty hard on our sport over the years and I’ve done some fundraising and been involved in kind of raising some awareness about that and some of the college problems that have been put on the chopping block in recent years like Fullerton and University of Oregon’s program and others and hopefully, you know, through Mixed Martial Arts I think we can turn the tide. I think, again, it’s about the constituencies and what they want and I think wrestling is getting a better nod and being considered more of a martial art now than it ever was in the past because of our exposure in Mixed Martial Arts. In a lot of ways, MMA has become the professional outlet for amateur wrestlers and collegiate and now Olympic-style wrestlers alike and I think all those things are good but… you know, I don’t know what else we can do other than continue to educate people and turn them on to this sport of wrestling. It’s the oldest combative sport around for a reason.”

A big avenue he sees in promoting knowledge about wrestling techniques in Mixed Martial Arts is through education about the Catch style.

“I have my black belt from Neil Melanson and I’ve kind of, him and I worked very hard together in kind of developing techniques that comes from the wrestling world and implementing it into the Catch style. Obviously as a wrestler, you know, that’s where collegiate wrestling came from, from Catch as Catch Can, so it’s something I feel strongly about and I also see that as a big positive thing for collegiate-style wrestling and ultimately Olympic wrestling is kind of resurrecting the Catch style as the submission style for MMA. I think it’s widely used and grounded people just don’t the terms, they don’t know that’s the things they’re doing, we’ve gotten so caught in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu style that we failed to overlook that the original combative sport in the Olympic games was boxing and wrestling and Catch wrestling, Pankration, all those things have a ton of merit. It’s just putting on the right glasses to look through the Catch wrestling in wrestling glasses instead of the Jiu Jitsu glasses and I think in a lot of ways I’m an example of the style and it’s success.

“I would like to see Neil develop either a book or some instructional tapes and help him kind of come up with an outline that, again, further educates on the style, how the style works, how it’s implemented into Mixed Martial Arts and the fight game as a whole.

“With Neil, we’ve had our first tournament at Xtreme Couture under the kind of Catch wrestling rules. Neil kind of came up with some rules and a scoring system that he thinks kind of epitomized what Catch is all about and I think we want to continue to build on that and make it a bigger, more annual type of event and just continue to, again, educate and foster this style.”

The other, more colorful vision of where fighting is going

Japanese engineers and minds of great intellect are involved, of course. Get ready for ‘this is robot entertainment.’

There’s a futuristic world of pro-wrestling & MMA out there involving robot battles and suplex machines ready to rip limbs off and eat metal carcasses. On Christmas day at Buddhist Hall in Tokyo, that vision comes to life. It’s only a matter of time before we get some performance-enhancing cheating scandals.

Background information here on how we’ve gone from robot dancing contests to now having Bantamweight & Flyweight robot wrestling & MMA tournaments. Try measuring up to that, Dana.

On Christmas, we get the ultra-deluxe bombastic edition of robot pro-wrestling & MMA that will make Antonio Inoki completely envious and jealous. Four-legged & five-legged robots unite. You can follow all the action & inside information on this new world of wrestling & MMA on Twitter @IKETOMU.

What the epic Christmas fight card looks like: The main event is for the Kanto Robot Heavyweight championship as Saaga the Suplex Machine takes on Monster. Other fights on the card include a Last Man Standing (Texas Death rules) match, a battle royal match under Royal Rumble rules, a retirement match, and … an Extermination death match (winner must completely physical destroy their opponent). There are also MMA fights on the card and they are under youknowwhat rules (10 minute round).

Even though it’s not the main event, one of the top fights on the card would make Atsushi Onita orgasmic — a Japanese no-rope electrical exploding barbed wire time bomb death match.

When asked for comment, Shinya Aoki was still trying to figure out how to wear the right shoes with his suit in public at Shibuya 109. Over to you, Blake Northcott.

Topics: Japan, Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 11 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

11 Responses to “Randy Couture: Yeah, Title IX has really crippled wrestling programs badly”

  1. I do think that Title IX did have an unintended consequence in sports like wrestling where the participation of women isn’t as prevalent, though I’m not sure that this isn’t balanced out by other varsity sports (eg volleyball) that are more exclusively women.

    I think that Randy, though, has it backwards (and even kind of acknowledges it in a way). The bigger issue is the fall of wrestling at the High School level which feeds into it. There can be a collegiate presence for wrestling if the sport, but it needs to begin with more youth enthusiasm for it. The decline of the popularity of wrestling is the same problem other sports are facing: the overwhelming popularity of team sports in the last two decades, ESPECIALLY football.

    MMA will certainly help with this in the sense that people are wising up that amateur wrestling is the best route to success. But first and foremost you have to promote amateur wrestling itself and get kids involved.

    • edub says:

      No, Title IX is the biggest issue. There’s a reason why there are less than 70 programs left at the elite level for college wrestling. The decline of popularity has little to do with it, it’s just that certain money HAS to get spent on women’s sports.

    • BillR says:

      Where do you get the information that high school wrestling participation is falling? Because that is false. The National Federation of State High School Associations’ report on sports participation last year showed that for the 6th consecutive year, boys wrestling #s increased. Girls wrestling numbers increased for the 20th year in a row.

      At the same time, men’s collegiate wrestling programs fell again. Sorry, but it is a Title IX issue, plain and simple.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    High School Wrestling participation is increasing partially due to MMA. Kids see how effective it is in the UFC and want to try it out earlier in their life.

    Title IX is just another bad law that needs to be changed. But college wrestling isn’t going away anytime in the next 50 years. But it doesn’t exactly serve the purpose it once did. It used to be a breeding ground for the international wrestling scene. Now guys are using is as a way to get experience before they start their professional fighting careers that are much more lucrative.

    Wrestlers have a much better future then they did even 10 years ago.

  3. Vic Mackey says:

    More Title IX hysteria.

  4. Zack says:

    The NWA title is the only one that matters. WOOOO!!

  5. Mr_Mike says:

    I too would like to know what infor Kevin Marshall is using to promote the idea that high school wrestling is droping in interest and, participation. I’ve been searching for info. on the net and, haven’t been able to find anything supporting his view. In the mid-1990’s, the numbers were low, but they are migh higher toay.

    I also think that catch would be a great way to keep the vast majority of wrestlers who don’t go any further than high school interested. We just need good marketing, competitions, curriculum, etc. Guys in their 40’s and, 50’s compete in BJJ torunaments and, the same could happen for no-gi wrestling.

  6. Shazam says:

    It isn’t Title IX in full. It is the fact the NCAA and Universities involved have turned certain sports into a minor league professional sport, and invest in them to get revenues.

    The amount invested into men’s football and basketball is the problem because that has to get matched. If they weren’t putting all their $$ and exploiting the students as unpaid amateurs while reaping millions in TV licensing and gate sales, then there would be more money to evenly spread amongst various collegiate teams.

    If there was a TV market and $$ for collegiate wrestling the programs would be getting big bucks too. So it isn’t wholely Title IX, it is the fact collegiate sports which should be an amateur competition is for the universities and conferences a professional league and they put their $$ where they see returns, not for college pride.

  7. VicMackey says:

    Congrats on the first post I have ever read on a MMA board that understands that Title IX isn’t the enemy of collegiate wrestling.

    Universities throw millions upon millions of dollars on football programs. Nearly every one of them lose money…. lots and lots of money.

    • edub says:

      The problem with that argument is that half of the universities who lost their wrestling program over the last 10 years (not just D-1), don’t throw millions of dollars at the top tier college athletics (basketball and football). Many of them don’t even have football as a competitive sport.

      No matter what information people try to use, or what excuses people try to make; Title IX is most certainly the biggest cause for college wrestling’s decline over the past 20-30 years.

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