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Olympic Gold Medal Hopeful Clarissa Chun Credits MMA for Recent Upset

clarissachunmug06.jpg I’m not really a big fan of the Olympics, as I think the whole concept is one of the biggest con jobs in the history of sports.

That being said, I will still be tuning in with great interest when it comes to the Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling events. I’m interested in how the wrestling events will play out because I believe it could potentially spawn one-to-two MMA superstars.

Yes, I realize the Olympics have taken place several times since MMA’s arrival in the United States in 1993, but the sport of MMA is at an apex in popularity right now. I think more MMA fans than ever will be keeping tabs on the results of the wrestling events.

Think about it: Kurt Angle was a household name following his improbable gold medal run at the ’96 games. What if MMA had been as popular then as it is now and he went right into the sport as opposed to eventually getting involved with pro wrestling?

With so many national promotions out there right now looking for an instant superstar, if a wrestler catches fire and manages to capitavate the attention of the mainstream sports fan, he could receive a very lucrative offer.

Or maybe I should also add “she” to that previous sentence?

That’s because females will be competing in wrestling in Beijing between August 12-21. In fact, four females just qualified for the team on Friday at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Marcie Van Dusen, Randi Miller, Ali Bernard, and Clarissa Chun will all be representing the United States during the 2008 Olympics.

But Chun is the name to watch. Much like Mo Lawal, Chun has been spending a lot of time preparing for the Olympics by training MMA. Before failing to qualify for the fames, Lawal had been going back and forth between the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs and Team Quest in Temecula, Calif.

Meanwhile, Chun is based in Colorado Springs but spends much of her time training with MMA pros Donnie Lyles and Keith Wilson at The Fight Factory (not to be confused with the Fight Factory in Philadelphia).

Chun won the 105 lbs. finals by upsetting reigning U.S. champion Patricia Miranda. After pulling off the upset, she gave much of the credit to her MMA training.

“I love all the training aspects of MMA, and it was a big help in improving my strength and flexibility in getting to this point,” Chun was quoted as saying after the event. “I think most people here feel that a good MMA training regimine helps gtet you ready for all the rigors of international wrestling competition. It is a reason for why I made the Olympic team.”

Right now, Chun is focusing on winning gold in August. However, she’s not ruling out MMA as a career option afterwards.

“Beijing is a dream and my total focus, and after that I wouldn’t rule out anything,” she said. “MMA training is essential to being well rounded and if it leads me to a pro career afterwards we will see.”

Is Clarissa Chun the next great female MMA superstar? In her words, don’t rule anything out.

  • dbess5 says:

    do you think that MMA will ever be in the olympics?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    NEVER. I know a lot of promoters talk about it, but have they ever taken the time out to think about the logistics? If they did, I think they’d realize that MMA in the Olympics is a pipe dream unless amateurs wearing heavy padding were the ones competing. But amateur MMA in full pads isn’t going to make the IOC feel like it needs to add another sport.

    I do think submission grappling would be a perfect fit for the Olympics.

  • koolpaw says:

    ohh i just have read her news on yesterday, didnt know she is interested in to go to MMA after Olympics games .

    but 105 lbs class? isnr it 48 kg class for ultra champ Icho ? too bad Gold medal of that class will come to Japan.

    King Mo lost the ticket to Beijing… grrrr

    but its ok, he will also fight in MMA soon woohooo

  • Joe says:

    Sam: I just wanted to say that I totally agree that the Olympics a re a total con job.


  • Jesse says:

    Please, please, please make submission grappling an olympic sport.

    Good call by the way Sam. I’m not into the Olympics either as I agree that it is in large part a scam. However, now I have some interest.

  • Tanner says:

    If they’re not going to allow submission grappling in the olympics i highly doubt we’ll ever see MMA. I would love to see some of the best grapplers compete in the olympics. They have Judo and TKD for gods sake. I don’t think adding submission grappling would be to far a stretch.

  • brutus says:

    So in comparison, what’s so genuine and true about the hyper-commercialized american sports then?

  • bjjdenver says:

    Sam, nice job, and your comment about sub grappling being in the olympics is awesome. Many fans talk about mma in the olympics, and in conversation I never thought about just submission grappling. Great idea, lets get it done!

  • brutus says:

    Submission grappling would be great in the olympics, it already has somewhat of an amateur curcuit, with males and females competing, in many places in the world. The main obstacles are probably the fact that there is already freestyle, greco-roman and judo, as well as the danger aspect and the domination of American and Brazilian grapplers. However, since Taekwondo recently got in, these things should not be insurmountable.

    (btw imagine how guys like Fedor and BJ Penn would probably want to compete, pretty cool)

  • Ronnie says:

    olympics may have become to commerical…
    but you should keep an eye out for Ronda Rousey in the women judo (-63kg?) if you get a chance. girl is a champion (with one of the best armbars) in the making. actually you should watch the whole divsion so you can see how good she really is.

    check out what bloodyelbow had to say about her and a possible move to MMA after the games.

  • Nate says:

    step 1: make MMA a household term
    step 2: make it global
    (possibly in a mixed order)
    step 3: olympics

    long way to go still.

  • Vern says:

    I would put her in the rear naked choke

  • DPK says:

    Great suggestion on the submission grappling, it is probably at least a decade away, but I’m sure it will gain momentum as MMA grows and becomes more popular.

    Does anyone know any other names from the US Olympic trials (Freestyle, Greco-Roman, Judo) that are going to try MMA. There are alot of Wrestling, NCAA champions, and All Americans that were trying to make the Olympic team, but came a short and would probably be sucessful in MMA if they dedicated themselves to the sport.

  • Lance Thomas says:


    You had a couple of errors in your article that you should correct. First of all, Spencer Mango won a greco spot on the Olympic team but HE is a man. The other mistake is on Mo Lawal. It is true he would make a terrific prospect for MMA, the only problem is that he DID NOT qualify for the Olympic Games. He was upset by Andy Hrovat of Michigan, the #2 seed. Anyway, just thought I would let you know about those but by the way, I love your blog and I check it out everyday. I was a State Champion wrestler who wrestled outside the country for USA Wrestling many times, albeit win a was a little bit younger and lighter. (not to much success though) I still follow USA Wrestling and I watched the finals Sunday night live on the internet. Thanks Sam.

  • RNC Joe says:

    “# 12 Vern Says:
    June 16th, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    I would put her in the rear naked choke”

    We had her on The Rear Naked Choke!!!

    We tend to keep things light on the show. She was an excellent guest. Were also supposed to have Debi Purcell, but she flaked.

    Excellent posting here, Sam, and much love to the site. While I think the Olympics are far from perfect, I’ll be all over them. You’re bound to find many great stories and learn about great people.

  • […] article highlighting Clarissa Chun’s win at the USA Wrestling trials and her inclusion on the U.S. Olympic team sparked some debate about MMA’s involvement with the […]

  • […] article highlighting Clarissa Chun’s win at the USA Wrestling trials and her inclusion on the U.S. Olympic team sparked some debate about MMA’s involvement with the […]

  • […] will be running a series of articles this summer that previews the U.S. wrestling team’s involvement with the Olympic Games on that will commence on August 8 in Beijing, China. Part I can be read by clicking here. […]


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