Why wrestling is the most important martial art in MMA
Former UFC middleweight Mark Munoz retired from mixed martial arts in May of last year, and sold his Reign Training Center.
“I wanted to have that 12-pound gold strap around my waist,” said the Filipino American to Kevin Iole for Yahoo Sports. “I wanted that so badly, I really did. I am disappointed I didn’t reach the pinnacle, but at the same time, there are more important priorities in life than one’s self-ambition.”
Munoz, one of the nicest, most positive figures in mixed martial arts, did not so much walking away from title dreams, as he is walked towards his children Alexa (15), Trey (13). Erynn (10) and Elyse (7).
Mark’s son Trey came to him and said he wanted to stop playing soccer and baseball, and focus on wrestling, with an eye towards securing a Div I scholarship.
“I said, ‘Out of the thousands of kids, probably the tens of thousands of kids, what makes you think you’re going to get a full-ride scholarship?’” asked Munoz of his son. “And he looked me in the eye and he said, ‘Dad, I have you.’ Oh my gosh. I can’t tell you what that meant to me to hear that.
“And that right there was a catalyst in my decision. I’ve always wanted the best of everything for my kids, but hearing that, it made me realize I needed to be right there with them to help them accomplish their dreams and their goals. This was a dream bigger than mine. I had to do my role to help my family reach their dreams and goals.”
“From the time [Alexa] was born, she’s always seen me and known me as a competitor. I missed a lot of special moments in her life and I don’t want to make the same mistake with my three other kids.”
Munoz went out with win over Luke Barnatt on the main card of UFC Fight Night 66 on May 16, 2015 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Philippines.
The interview was wide ranging, from bullying, to his work in the action/comedy Lumpia 2, and of course to mixed martial arts.
“If you’re going to ask a lot of the mixed martial artists, they’re going to say that wrestling is the number one martial art to learn,” said the former two-time All-American, and 2001 NCAA Div I national champion.
“It’s the number one discipline to learn because you can dictate whether you can have it on the ground or whether you can keep it standing.”
“In the culture of wrestling, you don’t ever find a successful wrestler being lazy. You will never find a successful wrestler just super talented because you have to back that talent up with work ethic and being smart.”
“Our wrestling culture [such that if] you’ve been taken down, you better get two or three takedowns back. To be a wrestler, you need to have the mind of a chess player, the grace of a ballerina, the balance of gymnast, the explosiveness of an Olympic weightlifter, and the agility of a soccer player. Wrestling is a very multi-faceted sport. “
“It is a very important sport that all people should learn. That’s why I want to bring it to the Philippines.”