Four former college mat stars – all four-time NCAA All-Americans, three who are two-time NCAA champs – are the headliners slated for the first-ever Agon Wrestling Championships in October, BleacherReport.com reported Thursday, Aug. 29.
One match would feature Ben Askren, University of Missouri mat alum, taking on recent Penn State grad Quentin Wright. The other bout has former Ohio State wrestler Lance Palmer vs. Jordan Oliver, who just wrapped up his mat career at Oklahoma State.
BleacherReports.com reports that Askren signed to wrestle in the main event for Agon Wrestling Championships’ debut, slated to take place at the Rio hotel in Las Vegas on October 27, with Wright making a verbal commitment to take on the former Mizzou Tiger. The same website said it had also confirmed the Palmer-Oliver bout on Thursday.
Both Askren and Palmer are now mixed martial arts champs. Askren has been the Bellator Fighting Championships welterweight champ since Dec. 2010, while Palmer won the Resurrection Fighting Championships featherweight title in June.
“The plans for Agon are similar to what Metamoris did in jiu-jitsu earlier this year—staging a major event that will air online while showcasing the sport of wrestling in a similar way that MMA is aired on television,” wrote Damon Martin for BleacherReport.com.
In a recent video interview with amateur wrestling website Flowrestling.com, Agon Wrestling Championships creator Mike DiSabato said that Agon would feature rules like college wrestling, with some notable differences. Matches would last nine minutes (with three, three-minute periods) instead of seven minutes as in college, wrestled on a hexagonal-shaped mat, without a cage. Competitors would vie for title belts.
College credentials for Agon contestants
All four wrestlers slated to compete in the Agon Wrestling Championships premiere event have impressive college wrestling credentials.
Ben Askren was a four-time NCAA finalist for Missouri, winning the 174-pound crown in his last two years in college in 2006 and 2007. He was also a two-time winner of the Hodge Trophy, presented each year to the nation’s best college wrestler, and wrestled freestyle for the US at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Wright, a four-time All-American wrestling for Cael Sanderson at Penn State, was a three-time NCAA finalist, winning the 184-pound title at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, then being crowned 197-pound champ at the 2013 NCAAs.
Oliver also won a title at the 2013 NCAAs, at 149 pounds for Oklahoma State, to accompany the 133-pound crown he claimed at the 2011 NCAAs. Like Wright, Oliver was also a three-time NCAA finalist, and four-time All-American.
Palmer, a four-time Ohio state champ for St. Edward High School in suburban Cleveland, became a four-time NCAA All-American for Ohio State. As a senior, he won the 149-pound title at the 2010 Big Ten conference championships, and was a finalist at the 2010 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
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Where does “Agon” come from? It’s a Greek word describing a one-on-one, no-holds-barred contest where human nature was tested to the limits. “Agon” is the root of English words “antagonist” and “agony.”
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