In recent years, the sport of mixed martial arts has reached new, unprecedented heights following its new-found global appeal. The all-inclusive form of combat sport showcases the very best of each practice, which ensures that it attracts an array of audiences. The third-largest city in Los Angeles has long boasted a rich history of wrestling. The California-based area has enjoyed success on the local circuit in the grappling-oriented practice. That said, recently, some up-and-coming competitors have switched their focuses to MMA. So, let’s take a look at whether MMA is taking over from wrestling in Santa Clarita.
Wrestling’s Local and Appeal and the Rise of MMA Gyms
Throughout the United States of America, wrestling is one of the most popular sports. The origins of the freestyle adaptation of the practice date back to the early 1900s and came to fruition eight years after the first appearance of Greco-Roman wrestling in 1896. Interestingly, the fact that world-class MMA fighters, such as Ben Askren, Brock Lesnar, and Daniel Cormier, were NCAA wrestlers reflects this fact. Although Santa Clarita has yet to see any of their participants compete on the global stage, the city does embrace the US’ widespread love of wrestling and MMA.
Locally, the popularity of wrestling is there for all to see. The city itself is the home to Brian Peterson and his training institution, Peterson Grapplers. With a professional coaching record of 111 wins and 29 losses across MMA competitions, the former Kage Combat champion is setting out to create the next generation of champions through his new academy. Santa Clarita is something of a microcosm of the broader area, with California also possessing a deep-rooted interest in wrestling. The Southern California Wrestling Club is based in the state, and they’re the only USA Wrestling sanctioned club of their kind in LA, according to their website. Furthermore, Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is also in the state. The highly-regarded academy has produced fighters such as Gilbert Melendez, Jake Shields, and Nate and Nick Diaz.
Heightened MMA Participation, but Why?
As per a report from The Guardian in 2017, MMA was the fastest-growing sport on earth. While there are numerous factors behind the combat practices’ development, the accessibility of MMA-focused gyms has undoubtedly enhanced the entertainment-packed activity’s interest levels. As highlighted above, Santa Clarita is one of many cities that are embracing the popularity of MMA. Upon analyzing the area’s wrestling sector, it becomes clear that some athletes are now seeking to transition into MMA.
At present, Israel Galvan is a prime example of this. El Huracan, as he is nicknamed, formerly wrestled for Valencia High School. Perhaps more interestingly, he even trained at Peterson Grapplers. Now, under the guidance of German Galtazar, the 20-year-old is flourishing in MMA. At the time of writing, the Californian-based grappler holds a professional MMA record of one win and one defeat, and an amateur record of seven victories and two losses.
Given the direction that Santa Clarita’s wrestling scene is going in, it’s hardly surprising that diverse markets are striving to alter their approaches to match modern-day consumer interests. Regarding Legal Betting’s report on California betting, there’s optimism that the region will soon embrace web-based sports betting and online casinos. If gambling restrictions change in the coming years, which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility, then local players will be able to immerse themselves in MMA-related markets, furthering the sport’s reach.
MMA’s On the Road to Surpassing Wrestling
Ultimately, it’s impossible to understate the importance of wrestling within the United States. However, there are indications that MMA is consuming grappling. Fundamentally, gyms are now tailoring their routines around the fastest-growing sport, while local fighters are also seeking to broaden their horizons, which showcases the current attraction of MMA.