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|Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) to Partner with UFC and Mixed Martial Arts
NEW YORK, N.Y. – The Committee to Preserve Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) and USA Wrestling has aligned with top organizations in mixed martial arts -- including UFC and its president, Dana White.
“I’ve met with a lot of top guys in wrestling. I met with them last Tuesday, and the UFC’s joining the fight to help save Olympic Wrestling,” UFC President, Dana White, told Yahoo Sports MMA Weekly on Tuesday.
With one sweeping statement of support, Dana White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have endeared themselves to wrestling fans across the globe and opened the door for a historic opportunity for the Keep Olympic Wrestling movement and the 2020 Vision campaign.
“We met with Dana and were very encouraged and touched by his genuine support for our sport and our effort to remain in the Olympics,” said CPOW Chairman Bill Scherr. “Many don’t know this but he has done a great deal behind the scenes for wrestling for years and we owe him our allegiance and gratitude.”
With mainstream media and television coverage, the UFC has exploded in popularity and expanded into over 130 international markets. Wrestling has long been a significant thread of the fabric of mixed martial arts and the UFC, with fighters like Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes, Dan Henderson and Sara McMann achieving success in MMA after beginnings in wrestling.
“We are not sure of the exact form and scope ultimately of our relationship with the UFC”, relayed CPOW member and NCAA Champion wrestler Tommy Rowlands, who had developed a spirited relationship with Dana White over Twitter. “We know that we will accept whatever assistance is offered and will work with Dana and the UFC to develop a working partnership going forward. For now, we are thrilled that he is involved and on our side.”
On February 12, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board made a recommendation that wrestling not be a core sport at the 2020 Olympic Games. A final decision on the program of the 2020 Olympics will be made by the entire IOC in September. A worldwide effort has been launched by FILA, the international wrestling federation, and all of the 177 nations which participate in wrestling, to retain wrestling as an Olympic sport.
Another CPOW member, John Bardis, has experience with both wrestling and the UFC. He was an accomplished wrestler and also a board member of USA Wrestling and team leader of the Greco-Roman Olympic team in Beijing in 2008. He has mentored, sponsored and coached several UFC fighters. “This budding relationship between wrestling and the UFC holds tremendous promise to assist us not only with our efforts with the IOC to remain in the Olympics, but also to increase the popularity of wrestling in the United States and around the World. We look upon them in many ways as a ‘big brother’ to our sport and we are thrilled with potential of the partnership that might develop between our groups.”
The Committee for the Preservation of Olympic Wrestling (CPOW) was developed by USA Wrestling, whose mission is to insure that wrestling remains as a core sport of the Olympic Games. CPOW features many highly-respected leaders within the American wrestling, chaired by Bill Scherr of Glenview, Ill., a World champion and Olympic medalist in freestyle wrestling and a leader in the Olympic family.
The official website is keepolympicwrestling.com. You can find the official Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/officialkeepwrestlingintheolympics. The official Twitter location is @wrestlingvision.