Amateur wrestling, which had its first major North American presence in MMA with Dan Severn's 1994 UFC debut, has long been a very rough way to make a living: There just isn't much of one unless you get an Olympic medal and some endorsements. (This on a good day: If you can name 2008's gold medalist, you've seen Bob Costas more than I care to.)
Recognizing the financial pitfalls of that career, Colorado wrestling organizer Ed Gutierrez is making more overt attempts to indoctrinate his wrestlers into a pro fighting career. Over the weekend, he tied in an MMA event with a wrestling meet, creating a fairly seamless connection between "amateur" grapping and pro fighting.
"This weekend is a pilot for us," he said. "But if we have the interest, we'd like to link the two together."
Some (Daniel Cormier) don't have a problem graduating to the mayhem, while others (Cael Sanderson) don't have it in them. There probably isn't any total normalcy in a life of punching people in the head, but tethering it to wrestling could make it appear a little less lurid.