Is there something special about New York wrestling?

Discussion in 'Grappling Technique' started by emax, Jan 6, 2015.

  1. emax

    emax Black Belt

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    I was looking at the best states for high school wrestling and found this:

    http://news.theopenmat.com/2011/11/calculating-the-top-25-high-school-wrestling-states/

    And found that New York is only ranked 18th in terms of raw depth and only 21st in terms of overall ranking. And in spite of this we have seen that some of the best guys in MMA in terms of using their wrestling got their start wrestling in NY. This state has Jon Jones and Chris Weidman, who are both on their way to becoming conceivably the two greatest p4p fighters ever and largely due to their off the charts MMA wrestling, along with Rashad Evans and rising stars like Ryan LaFlare. All of whom spend much of the first 18 years of their life wrestling in NY. And that's just off the top of my head. Meanwhile, we have not seen this from other states with similar rankings: Texas, Georgia, Kansas, North Carolina, Florida, Virginia, Maryland and Missouri. These states combined have a way bigger population than New York and have similar of higher rankings in wrestling and yet we have not seen wrestlers from these states transition to MMA nearly as well as New Yorkers. I mean, Missouri has Tyron Woodley, whose good but most likely is not gonna get anywhere near a UFC belt. Georgia as Rumble Johnson, who may indeed be able to give Jones one of his toughest fights but is still most likely not gonna get to that level either. And while Benavidez was born in Texas, he wrestled in high school in NM and did his first MMA training there as well. And Hendricks lives in Texas and considers himself a Texan but he clearly does not count considering that virtually all his amateur wrestling background comes from his time in OK.

    So considering this, is there something that makes NY wrestling special? Is it really something about New Yorkers as a people that gives them an uncanny ability to translate their combat sports skills of any kind into MMA? I am legitimately curious here.
     
  2. Uchi Mata

    Uchi Mata Preaching the gospel of heel hooks and left kicks

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    Nope. Small sample sizes don't make for good broad conclusions. The guys you mentioned all went to really good MMA camps for training, that's probably a bigger deal than them being from NY. If you were to look at a different era, you'd find top guys from different states. Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell both wrestled in California, was CA wrestling somehow better in the early 2000s than now? NY also has a much larger population than most other states so the comparison isn't that fair. I'd imagine that a higher % of wrestlers with Iowa connections who have done well in MMA than the % of NY guys.
     
  3. Rico

    Rico Franklin Platinum Member

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  4. vcmmafan

    vcmmafan Brown Belt

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    Ask Holt
     
  5. superking

    superking Poet — Traveler — Soldier of Fortune

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  6. youngsteinel

    youngsteinel Silver Belt

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    New York is MUCH better than 21st overall state in wrestling. That is laughable. They are easily top 10, but really a top 5 state every year. PA and Ohio are the best, with PA being the toughest (IMO). California, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, and New York (in random order) are next tier.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2015
  7. Sexy Pants

    Sexy Pants Blue Belt

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    What about IL and WI? Where would you rank them?
     
  8. youngsteinel

    youngsteinel Silver Belt

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    Illinois is good, probably in that tier actually. I thought I wrote them, but I guess I missed them. I am not too sure of Wisconsin, but I know they've had some tough wrestlers come out of there. (Dieringer comes to mind first).
     
  9. emax

    emax Black Belt

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    This is a topic for heated discussion. OH and PA are considered the top 2 and after that it is VERY hotly contested. I think a lot would say the first tier is OH, PA, IA, Ill, CA and NJ and the next tier after that is NY, MI, MD, FL, MN and VA are the tier after that. And numerous wrestling followers would say NY, MN or MI also belongs in that first tier.

    Interestingly enough though, there are more elite wrestlers in MMA now who have had continued success at the highest level then there are from MN, MD, VA, FL, OH and PA combined. Which I still personally think is really surprising.
     
  10. emax

    emax Black Belt

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    And in the end, when it comes to the number of wrestlers who have had truly elite level success at the highest levels in recent years, relative to the state's population, NY seems to have all 49 other states beat hands down.
     
  11. Dirty Holt

    Dirty Holt Black Belt Professional Fighter

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    I would say it almost has zero to do with how good the HS wrestling is in a particular state. Chris Weidman and Jon Jones while from NY, were hardly elite level wrestlers while in HS.

    It comes down to state size. Guess why there are so many champs coming out of CA? Because they have a huge number pool to draw from an athlete standpoint, and a huge pool of competent MMA training camps. Just like NY. Just like Brazil.

    You also need to look at not just the single guy at the top. Every UFC fighter in the top ten is the absolute top tier in MMA.

    Further more, the reason why certain states rank higher than others is because of the strength of their youth and middle school wrestling. What you are essentially saying is that the biggest predictor of MMA success is if you come from a state with strong peewee wrestling, which I really have a hard time agreeing with.
     
  12. youngsteinel

    youngsteinel Silver Belt

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    Yeah I am much more of an NCAA fan personally, so I was just throwing out a couple states from my memory. I remember NY being a real tough state, but you sound like you know better. I wouldn't necessarily put Maryland with Michigan, Minnesota, or Florida. All those states are level above MD (I coach here). It improved A LOT when Kolat moves to Maryland and started Team Kolat. Still not there though
     
  13. SuperSuperRambo

    SuperSuperRambo Senior Moderator Senior Moderator

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    Depends on the definition of elite. I remember that Chris was a state champ in HS, so within the state he was elite. If you mean nationwide then yeah, you might be right, I have no idea what he did.
     
  14. shunyata

    shunyata Red Belt

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    Two outliers do not a trend make.
     
  15. jlowe

    jlowe Blue Belt

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    A couple things about NY wrestling:

    1) If you are from Long Island or the Southern Tier wrestling is a big deal. But not so much in the rest of the state. I've been living in the Hudson valley for nearly 20 years and have literally met 5 people that wrestled in school. Growing up on Long Island it was everywhere.

    2) NY had (has?) some goofy rules about High school athletes. I believe it was the younger Jentzen that had to go to court to be ruled eligible for his senior season because he entered Midlands. Relative to other states you dont see a lot of NY kids entering the big tournaments. This has made NY an under recruited state for awhile. Although this seems to be changing a bit.

    3) There are only two D1 programs at state schools and neither have had much emphasis on wrestling. The only premier program in the state is Cornell which very few people can get into or afford. So there isn't much hype being built in high school on wrestling in college. It's not like in Iowa where their is a rich tradition of wrestling for the hawkeyes or cyclones. No one is growing up saying "I can't wait to wrestle for Buffalo!" Having SUNY Stoney Brook (on Long Island) start a fully funded D1 program would do wonders for wrestling in the state.

    4) My cousin was a top guy in his weight in Nassau county while Weidman was in High School. They did some camps and what not together (different weights) and my cousin has always said that Chris was WAY better then everyone around him and a sincerely nice guy.

    PA, then Ohio are clearly the top. After that I'd say about 10 states are roughly the same with NY in the mix.
     
  16. Romulas

    Romulas Orange Belt

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    We have the money and infrastructure to support good wrestling programs along with the fact that it's very difficult to live her as opposed to most other states.

    Most New Yorkers grew up fighting and have competitive mind sets. Even if you're not into sports you won't make it through life here if you're not a grinder. The weak move to "cheaper states." We also have a huge population that continually filters out the weakest and replaces them with new immigrants.
     
  17. emax

    emax Black Belt

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    True and so that is why the key factor is how elite Chris and Jon were on a national scare I think. They obviously did really, really well on the local and state levels, but in high school, how would they have done going up against the most capable wrestlers from PA, OH or IA? And if they did, how did they do in high school? It seems like at least 3/4 of the time when the best wrestlers from these states take on the best wrestlers from literally any other state at the high school, they clobber them without really working up much of a sweat at all.
     
  18. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    Are you confusing NY with NJ?
     
  19. MadSquabbles500

    MadSquabbles500 Steel Belt

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    You also have to consider, how many people are actually fighting in MMA.
     
  20. RJ Green

    RJ Green Black Belt

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    i'll just leave this hurr
     

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