On Tuesday, the International Olympic Committee made the decision to drop the sport of wrestling from the Olympics, effective in 2020. As you might expect, current and past Olympic medalists in Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling are infuriated by the news. So is Chael Sonnen.
Sonnen, as you likely know, is currently a UFC star who holds a 27-12 record in his mixed martial arts career. What you may not know is that Sonnen was an All-American wrestler in college at Oregon. He was also an alternate on the US Olympic team in Greco-Roman wrestling. On Fuel TV’s “UFC Tonight” earlier this week, Sonnen blasted the IOC for its decision to drop wrestling from the Olympics.
“How do you get rid of wrestling?” Sonnen asked to begin his rant. “It is the oldest sport in existence. In no walk of society can you tell me seniority does not matter. Nothing can date itself back as far as wrestling. They didn’t have bikes, they didn’t have balls and they didn’t have bats — they were pushing and pulling on one another.
“We have an idiocracy known as FILA that has ruined the sport. We have two knuckleheads that you couldn’t trust to run your local donut shop regulating our sport of wrestling. Wrestling has cannibalized itself from 10 spots on the world and Olympic team to nine, to eight, to seven. This is where they’re at it. It’s basic science, the number one rule in biology, you either evolve or you become extinct.”
Sonnen has shown that he is certifiably insane with interviews like this in the past, but it’s tough to disagree with him here. Wrestling dates back to the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC and was the focus of the Olympics when the modern era began in Athens in 1896. The fact that sports like badminton and table tennis will survive and wrestling has been axed has to drive wrestling enthusiasts up a wall.