OT but M related - Michigan in MMA

Submitted by James Burrill Angell on August 22nd, 2010 at 9:12 PM

So I  know that many of Michigan's former wrestler are translating the academic degree into professions that involve use of their brains (see Eric Tannenbaum at Michigan Med School for exampte) but I was just watching some mixed martial arts on t.v. and noticed that former Michigan wrestler Joe Warren is apparently fighting for the featherweight championship belt in Bellator Fighting Championships some time in the near future.

Anybody know if there are any other former Michigan wrestlers competing in MMA?



August 22nd, 2010 at 10:46 PM ^

I would love to see Ty Todd try it, but I believe he's entering the Olympic programs. MSU has actually had some decent success here, Rashad Evans being the most prominent right now, although Gray Maynard, his former teammate, is going to challenge for that particular title. 

I really can't think of any that have though, just thinking of recently, Tannenbaum is in med school, Todd is still wrestling, don't know where Wagner is but he's not in MMA (Despite beating Cain Velasquez two years in a row at NCAA's), and Steve Luke is coaching. I know it's somewhere to the south, but I have voluntarily destroyed the part of my brain that recalls exactly where Michigan's last wrestling champion choose to coach, sort of like PTSD related to the colors scarlet and gray. 

It's a little strange, as one would think Michigan would have at least one or two big name guys. Warren in Bellator is a nice start, and it looks like he's got a title shot upcoming, which is nothing to scoff at, but it's still AAA to UFC's major league's. It's surprising to me to see the success that NCAA wrestlers have in MMA yet none of Michigan's former wrestlers are really competing in it at the highest level. I mean MSU has Evans and Maynard, Minnesota has Lesnar, Okie St. has Couture, Hendrix, and Coleman, Penn State has Davis, even Non D-1 colleges have produced huge stars in Liddell and Jon Jones. 


August 23rd, 2010 at 6:55 AM ^

He was getting into it but gave it up.  He had a famous (well...famous to MMA fans) fight with Chris Leben at an event (Battle of Seattle) about 9 years ago. Things got crazy...fans were fighting, etc.  Otto lost (screw job) and he has since stopped fighting.  I think he now just coaches wrestling and DJ's. 

Joe Warren is going to be a good one but I think he started a little late.  He basically got into the sport after USA wrestling found out he liked to play Puff Puff GIve and asked him to sit out for two years.  After winning the worlds he was well on his way to being an all time great in the sport of wrestling.

Of the recent guys Todd is an obvious pick.  He was so physical on the mat.  My second pick... Pat Owen.   I think Pat could have made 155 in MMA and been a beast.  His ground game would have been sick.

Guy on the current roster... I hope Biondo gives it a run.  Jon Jones/Phil Davis like length.  Kid could be good and could probably make 185.